According to the March of Dimes, preeclampsia is a serious medical condition that occurs in pregnant women and contributes to about 15% of all premature births in the United States.

Where preeclampsia is concerned, knowledge is power, and here’s what you need to know about the condition.

The 411 on Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a potentially dangerous medical condition that's associated with extremely high blood pressure during pregnancy. Most affected women are diagnosed with the condition after about 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Symptoms associated with preeclampsia include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Change in reflexes
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive vomiting and nausea
  • Rapid weight gain caused by a significant increase in bodily fluid
  • Severe headaches
  • Reduced urine or no urine output
  • Vision changes

Preventing Preeclampsia

While there is no way to entirely prevent preeclampsia during pregnancy, there are steps you can take to provide yourself and your baby with optimal care. This, in turn, will lower your risk.

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Exercise regularly, getting at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
  • Get plenty of sleep, usually between seven and nine hours each night.
  • Limit your sodium intake.

How Is Preeclampsia Diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects you may have preeclampsia, he or she will check your blood pressure and look for protein in your urine. Elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine are two definitive indicators of preeclampsia.

That's why regular checkups with your doctor are essential, since they give your doctor an opportunity to talk with you about what you're experiencing and order any necessary testing. If you are diagnosed with preeclampsia, you will be more closely monitored in case an earlier delivery needs to take place to protect both you and your unborn child.

Our knowledgeable and highly trained medical team at Parkridge East is here to help you every step of the way when it comes to the birth of your child.