About 10 percent of pregnant women experience hypertension during pregnancy. The condition, known as preeclampsia, is a serious pregnancy complication that could harm both the mother and the infant. The exact cause of this health disorder during pregnancy is unknown.
The risk of preeclampsia increases from the last phase of the second trimester of pregnancy. High blood pressure might even develop few days before delivery. Largely preeclampsia develops during the first pregnancy. Occasionally it recurs in subsequent pregnancies.
Causes of preeclampsia
Sometimes preeclampsia runs in the family. If you have a family history of preeclampsia, and your mother and sisters had developed hypertension when they were pregnant, you have a risk of developing preeclampsia. Preeclampsia usually occurs in pregnant women with a personal history of hypertension, kidney disease and high blood pressure. Obesity increases your chance of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy. It might develop in pregnant women with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and sarcoidosis. Pregnancy before 18 or after 40 could increase the risk of developing preeclampsia.
Risks of preeclampsia
Pregnant women suffering from high blood pressure have a risk of suffering from liver and kidney damage, stroke, pulmonary edema or fluid buildup in the lungs and difficulty in blood clotting after delivery. Preeclampsia is responsible for premature births. Infants are born with low birth weights. In the absence of proper medical care, preeclampsia could be fatal for both the mother and the baby.
Symptoms of preeclampsia
Edema, fast weight gain, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and high blood pressure are common symptoms of preeclampsia. Hypertension might cause blurry vision. Pregnant women with severe preeclampsia have a risk of losing the peripheral vision of the eyes. The protein content in the urine increases.
Regular antenatal check ups could prevent complications caused by preeclampsia. During pregnancy, all women, especially the ones with risks of developing preeclampsia, should frequently monitor their blood pressure level and check the presence of protein in urine. Intake of vitamin D rich foods and supplements could reduce the risk of preeclampsia. Studies have shown that risk of developing preeclampsia during pregnancy could be minimized by taking vitamins C and E rich foods and supplements.