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Signs and Treatments of Preeclampsia

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Reproductive System related image Photo: Getty Images

Preeclampsia can typically occur after the 20th week of pregnancy. This condition is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It is sometimes called toxemia or pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIN).

What’s so interesting about this condition is that for some, they don’t even feel any different. They go to the doctor expecting to have a routine checkup, but are whisked away to the hospital or prescribed immediate bed rest.

This is why routine prenatal visit must be adhered to. Patients are normally weighed, blood pressure is checked and urine is tested, among other things. Notice the long list of symptoms that preeclampsia may cause:

Edema (Swelling)
Sudden Weight Gain
Nausea or Vomiting
Abdominal (stomach area) and/or Shoulder Pain
Lower back pain
Changes in Vision
Racing pulse
Mental confusion
Heightened sense of anxiety
Shortness of breath or chest pain
Sense of impending doom

But in this article, we’ll discuss a few of the ones that would be most obvious to you. For instance, edema or swelling may arise. If you are swelling at an abnormal rate, especially in the face, around the eyes or hands this is cause for concern.

Now, everyone knows that pregnancy causes some swelling, but with preeclampsia, you may experience pitting edema, where an indention is left after you press down into the skin. It is best to notify your physician and even though he or she will tell you put your feet up; it is best not to sit for long stretches of time.

What if you notice excessive weight gain? I think all pregnant women love the fact that they now have an excuse to carry extra poundage. Weight accumulation, however, should be no more than 2 pounds a week.

If the opposite is true, this could mean that blood vessels are damaged, thereby, allowing water to leak and stay in your body’s tissue instead of being routed to the kindness for expulsion.

It is not advised to try to diet to counteract weight gain if preeclampsia is diagnosed. Always stick to a balanced diet and see your doctor for any special instructions. Remember, stick to basic things like veggies, fruits, decrease salt intake, and take your prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplements.

Nausea and vomiting is pretty common during morning sickness. But morning sickness typically occurs during the first trimester.

If you suddenly start vomiting or if vomiting recurs after this time, preeclampsia may be the cause. So it is imperative that you see your physician as soon as possible and get blood pressure and urine checked.

Many women can manage their symptoms under the doctor’s care until the birth of their baby. Others have to be admitted into the hospital for constant monitoring. But what if your symptoms are getting worse and won’t go away?

There is no cure for preeclampsia but to deliver the baby. Doctors prefer to wait till around 37 weeks.

Although this does not cover all the symptoms, this information is meant to give the reader some idea of what to look for if they suspect they have preeclampsia. This condition cannot be diagnosed without a doctor’s help so when signs start to appear, get the needed help.

For more information, please check out the references below.

Best in Health!


Signs & Symptoms. Preeclampsia.org. Web. 5 September 2011.

Preeclampsia. PubMed Health. Web. 5 September 2011.

Dita Faulkner is an amazing blogger. Check out her blog at:

Reviewed September 6, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.