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13 Things You Need To Know About Preeclampsia

Pregnancy is such an interesting time in a woman's life. You learn all sorts of things your body can do, as well as develop a new vocabulary of terms specific to being pregnant. It's during this time that you also learn there are a few conditions perfectly healthy women can develop throughout the course of pregnancy. You tend to hear more about common issues, such as gestational diabetes. But the more rare conditions, like preeclampsia, usually leave pregnant women with a lot of questions. It's important to brush up on things you need to know about preeclampsia, so you have all the facts straight.

The good news is, most women do not develop preeclampsia when pregnant. According to the website for the Preeclampsia Foundation, only five to eight percent of women experience preeclampsia during their pregnancy. Since there are no known causes, any pregnant woman is susceptible to developing preeclampsia. However, researchers have been able to identify a few risk factors of preeclampsia, such as history of high blood pressure, age, weight, family history, and use of IVF to become pregnant, according to the March of Dime's website.

Learning the symptoms and risks associated with this condition will help to keep you in the know throughout your pregnancy, so read over these 13 facts about preeclampsia to stay ahead of the game.

1. One Of Its Signs Is High Blood Pressure

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One of the most common signs of preeclampsia is high blood pressure. According to Mayo Clinic, high blood pressure that begins around 20 weeks gestation is usually due to preeclampsia. Even the slightest rise in numbers can tip off the doctor to this issue.

2. It Is Found During A Screening

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There's no need to put all the pressure on yourself to look for signs. As Baby Center pointed out, you will be screened with a urine test for preeclampsia which looks for proteins.

3. It Is More Common Durring A First Pregnancy

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Although this condition appears random, it's most common for women to develop preeclampsia with their first pregnancy, as the U.S. National Library of Medicine reported. On that same note, once you've had a pregnancy with preeclampsia, you are more likely to have it in future pregnancies.

4. It Can Be Mild Or Severe

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When it comes to the symptoms of preeclampsia, there is a wide range of possibilities. At the very least, there will be the high blood pressure, but for some, it can be much worse. As the website for the American Pregnancy Association pointed out, severe preeclampsia patients experience headaches, blurred vision, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

5. It May Force You To Go On Bed Rest

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Sometimes, less severe cases of preeclampsia can be treated at home. According to What To Expect's website, doctors may order bed rest for women with preeclampsia, to avoid an early delivery.

6. It May Cause You To Deliver Early

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If your medical professional feels your preeclampsia is too severe to be monitored at home, you may be meeting your baby sooner than later. As the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists pointed out, your baby may need to be delivered immediately because of risks to either you and/or your baby.

7. It Goes Away When You Deliver

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Preeclampsia is a serious condition, but on a positive note, it doesn't last forever. Once the baby is delivered, preeclampsia is cured, according to Healthline.

8. There Is Also Eclampsia

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Eclampsia is a serious complication of preeclampsia. According to the Preeclampsia Foundation, experiencing seizures during or after a pregnancy with preeclampsia is known as eclampsia, and can be treated with an IV of magnesium sulfate.

9. It Presents Some Risks For Baby

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Sometimes, developing preeclampsia can put you at risk for other pregnancy related issues. As the March of Dimes reported, women with preeclampsia are more likely to have a placental abruption, as well as premature babies with low birth weight.

10. There Are Some Ways To Reduce Your Risk

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Although researchers have yet to pin point exactly what may ward off this condition, there may be a few things you can try to help decrease your changes of developing preeclampsia. Taking low-dose aspirin and calcium supplements may be helpful in reducing the likelihood of preeclampsia, suggested Mayo Clinic.

11. HELLP Syndrome Is Possible

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Aside from eclampsia, HELLP is another possible condition that preeclampsia can lead to. As the American Pregnancy Association pointed out, hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count, know as HELLP syndrome, usually occurs in late pregnancy and effects blood clots, liver function, and breakdown of red blood cells.

12. It Can Lead To Swelling

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Most pregnant women can expect to experience some swelling, typically in the ankles and legs. However, women with preeclampsia experience swelling in their face, hands, and eyes, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

13. Treatment Is Key

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Discovering and treating preeclampsia is extremely important to the health of you and your baby. According to Healthline, when this condition is left untreated, results could be fatal for both mother and child.