Preeclampsia in pregnancy

Preeclampsia in pregnancy

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The preeclampsia, also called toxemia gravidarum, is a pregnancy-specific disease that can affect 5 to 8 percent of pregnant women, usually after 20th week of gestation, although it can also appear earlier. Sometimes its progression is slow, but in other cases it appears abruptly at the end of pregnancy.

It manifests with high blood pressure, fluid retention (edema) and protein in the urine (proteinuria) and can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on the blood pressure figures and the loss of protein in the urine. This disease is solved with the birth of the baby, which must be scheduled based on gestational age and maternal-fetal health status.

Preeclampsia prevents proper intrauterine growth of the baby, favors the decrease in the volume of amniotic fluid and, in extreme cases, can cause premature detachment of the placenta. The risk to the life of the baby is very high and labor induction is the solution of choice in most cases. In the most serious cases, the blood flow to the placenta can be restricted and, as a consequence, the baby's life could be at great risk.

The cause is still unknown, but factors such as diet, autoimmune disorders, vascular problems, or genetic predisposition are believed to be possible causes. Studies on this disease have revealed that it is usually more frequent in first pregnancies, in women with sisters or mothers who have had pre-eclampsia, in multiple pregnancies, in pregnancies in adolescent mothers or in women over 40 years of age. It also usually occurs in women with a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney disease.

Although the exact origin of preeclampsia is still debated, what seems clear is that there is an alteration in placental vascularization. Women with diabetes or kidney failure are more likely to suffer from this abnormality. Controlling blood pressure helps prevent it. When this complication occurs, treatment will be bed rest until the blood pressure drops. Usually, the admission of the woman to the hospital is decided to clinically monitor her condition. If pre-eclampsia is not corrected, the fetus could have problems due to a lack of oxygen or a reduced blood supply in its body.

Prenatal checkups are the best way to prevent pre-eclampsia because they can detect and treat pre-eclampsia before it develops in the pregnant woman's body. When pregnant women manage their pregnancy with regular prenatal care and testing, pre-eclampsia can be found early and most problems can be prevented. But if the disease is in an advanced stage and the baby is very premature, bed rest and careful monitoring of blood pressure, urine, and weight are recommended.

Labor can be induced in severe cases of preeclampsia, if the pregnancy is between weeks 32 and 34. In pregnancies of less than 24 weeks, induction of labor is recommended, but the probability of survival of the fetus is very small. During this period of time, it is necessary to treat the mother with steroid injections, which help to accelerate the maturation of some organs such as the lungs, at the same time as permanent monitoring is exercised over the mother and the baby to observe possible complications.

Some studies suggest that taking low doses of aspirin, calcium supplements, and enough vitamins E and C help prevent and even treat pre-eclampsia. The risk of developing preeclampsia again in subsequent pregnancies is high.

Marisol New. our site

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