Everyone wants their pregnancy to go along perfectly, but the reality is that sometimes challenges crop up even in the healthiest humans. Preeclampsia is a condition that plagues many women, but in most cases it can be treated effectively so as not to cause harm to a woman or her baby. Many preeclampsia symptoms mimic pregnancy symptoms, and there may be some things you didn't realize are signs of preeclampsia.
According to Web MD, preeclampsia is pregnancy condition characterized by high blood pressure. But your past medical history is not a predictor of this condition. Women who've never had blood pressure issues, before or during pregnancy, can develop preeclampsia. The Mayo Clinic said even the slightest uptick in blood pressure can indicate possible preeclampsia. The same site explained that the condition is diagnosed around 20 weeks or after.
Web MD made clear that preeclampsia is not curable, which is obviously quite scary for moms to be, but it is treatable. There are possible complications, some of which can be deadly for mom and baby, but nothing that can't be treated if noticed or observed in an adequate time frame. Here are nine signs you might have the condition without even knowing it.
1. You Notice Swelling
The narrative of a pregnant woman seems to always involve swelling, particularly regarding the feet. Pregnant women, for several obvious reasons, tend to bloat up while harboring a baby or babies in their bodies. But the same Mayo Clinic post above explained that if swelling is sudden, especially in your face or hands, it might be a sign that something is wrong and it'd be best to call a doctor right away.
2. You Experience Headaches
Those prone to migraines might find this symptom tricky. The Preeclampsia website explained that it doesn't matter if you have dull headaches or severe ones — if they don't go away that could be a cause for concern. The same site noted that many women ultimately diagnosed with preeclampsia explain their headaches as "migraine like."
3. You Deal With Nausea Or Vomiting
Again, this is a symptom that mimics pregnancy symptoms. Morning sickness, usually subsides by the 20 week mark though, which is the time most women get diagnosed with preeclampsia. The same Web MD article above explained that if you're experiencing extreme dizziness and excessive vomiting you should be seen as soon as possible.
4. You Have Abdominal & Shoulder Pain
According to the Preeclampsia website, the type of abdominal pain is usually under the ribs and on the right side. Sometimes pregnant women might confuse the pain for heartburn, flu, indigestion, or pain from the baby kicking.
The same site explained that the shoulder pain is often considered "referred pain" because it radiates from the liver under the right ribs. It can feel like someone is pinching you hard and deep along the bra strap or on your neck. It might even be painful to lie on your right side.
Both types of pain indicate the origin of issue may be the liver. The site recommended that if you feel either one to not delay and call your doctor immediately.
5. You Have Lower Back Pain
I felt like my whole pregnancy was spent trying to alleviate my lower back pain. Pillows, prenatal yoga, and plain old giving up. Anything I could do to take the pressure off of those muscles, I was game for.
The Preeclampsia website pointed out that lower back pain associated with the preeclampsia is actually a little different than pregnancy back pain based off the fact that it is generally very acute. This specific pain is an indication of a liver issue as well and needs to checked out.
6. You Gain Weight Suddenly
Pregnant women gain weight when they're making a human, it generally comes with the territory. According to Baby Center if you are gaining more than four pounds a week, this is a cause for concern. Excessive weight gain in preeclampsia sufferers is caused by water retention. Damaged blood vessels allow more water to leak into your body's tissues. The water is not passed through the kidneys to be excreted and just stays in the body.
7. You Have Blurry Vision
According to a 2013 study done by the Ross Eye Institute in Buffalo, New York vision complications are the most common complaint in those diagnosed with preeclampsia. The study noted that 25 percent of sufferers present visual symptoms that include blurriness, inability to focus, and, in some cases, full blindness.
8. You Have Shortness Of Breath
If you're not normally an anxious person or you experience a sudden heightened form of anxiety, the Preeclampsia website noted that it could be preeclampsia. Shortness of breath, a racing pulse, mental confusion, or feeling of doom could all be possible signs that your blood pressure is up. Rarely, it could also mean that fluid is collecting in your lungs (pulmonary edema).
9. You Don't Have Symptoms
Some women who have preeclampsia experience no noticeable symptoms, according to Baby Center. The site noted that those women in the early stages of the illness may not even register a change or that something is wrong. It's important to note as well that this illness can vary woman to woman.
You will be your best monitor and advocate while you're pregnant for you and your baby. If you feel like something is off, even if it's a typical pregnancy symptom, tell your medical provider as they'll be able to run tests and figure out if you need to be treated for preeclampsia or any other serious condition.