High blood pressure during pregnancy can be dangerous – All you need to know about preeclampsia

By – Dr Shalini Vijay, Senior Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, at Motherhood Hospitals, Lullanagar
Pregnancy is truly fulfilling but despite being one of the most anticipated experiences, women can be subjected to various complications during pregnancy that can often be life-threatening. Hypertension is also known as the silent killer. When combined with pregnancy, it can be one of the most dangerous complications that can affect the mother and the child.
Times Now Digital connected with Dr Shalini Vijay, Senior Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, at Motherhood Hospitals, Lullanagar to get insight into the condition of preeclampsia.
Dr Shalini Vijay elaborated on the condition and said, “Preeclampsia means a sudden rise in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy. You will be shocked to know that this condition can take a toll on the pregnant woman’s kidneys, liver, and brain. If not treated at the right time, preeclampsia can turn into eclampsia which leads to organ damage, seizures, and even death.”

“There are many women in the country who have preeclampsia during pregnancy. It is the need of the hour to manage this condition to deliver a healthy baby,” she added.

According to Dr Vijay, some symptoms of preeclampsia in women may include:

  1. Excessive protein in the urine
  2. Vision problems
  3. Headache, chest pain
  4. Nausea or vomiting
  5. Abdominal pain
  6. Breathing problems
  7. Impaired liver function

“Once you notice the symptoms then consult the doctor on an immediate basis without any delay,” the doctor said.

Preeclampsia – Risk factors and causes

According to Dr Shalini, the risk factors of preeclampsia may include age, family history, preeclampsia during the previous pregnancy, multiple pregnancies, etc. Some causes of preeclampsia are:

  1. Chronic hypertension
  2. Kidney disease
  3. Diabetes
  4. Obesity
  5. Autoimmune conditions

Preeclampsia – Impact on the baby

Highlighting the effect of preeclampsia on the baby, Dr Vijay said, “This condition can be dangerous for the baby as it can lead to placental abruption (premature detachment of the placenta from the uterus). This will cause heavy bleeding and can be life-threatening for both the mother and baby. Foetal growth restriction and preterm birth are some of the other complications that arise due to preeclampsia.”

Preeclampsia – Impact on the mother

Dr Vijay commented on other health complications that can be triggered by preeclampsia and said, “Preeclampsia is linked to fluid retention and protein excretion in the urine which can raise the risk of kidney failure and end-stage renal disease. One may also suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) later in life.”

Preeclampsia Management

The expert emphasises the importance of taking good care of the health when suffering from preeclampsia and suggested the following management tips:

  1. Monitor the blood pressure on a regular basis. Any changes in the BP should be reported to the doctor.
  2. Go for blood tests that will help you to evaluate your kidney and liver health.
  3. Take medication only prescribed by the doctor and avoid any over-the-counter medication.
  4. Opt for a well-balanced diet loaded with fibre and foods low in fat.
  5. Drink enough water and eat fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and pulses.
  6. Avoid junk, oily, packaged, and processed foods high in sodium.
  7. Limit your intake of carbohydrates, potatoes, fruit juices, colas, sweets, candies, and desserts.
  8. Exercise on a daily basis and avoid heavy workouts. You can go for walking, yoga or aerobics.
  9. Speak to the doctor before starting any fitness routine.
  10. Try to maintain an optimum weight during pregnancy.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.