Preeclampsia Can Restrict Foetal Growth, Raise Chances Of Stillbirth: How To Manage The Condition

Preeclampsia means developing high blood pressure levels during pregnancy. It is seen after the 20th week of pregnancy and usually disappears within days to weeks after delivering the baby. It can affect both the mother and her baby. Pregnant women with pre-eclampsia are at higher risk of having high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart problems later in life, especially if the illness develops early in pregnancy. In the fetus, this condition can cause growth restriction as well as increase chances of stillbirth.

Dr. Priya Deshpande, Consultant Maternal Foetal Medicine, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar, explains how preeclampsia impacts the baby, and how to keep it under control.

Causes of Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia can be caused owing to age, family history, previous preeclampsia, diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease, thrombophilia and an autoimmune condition such as lupus and even obesity before pregnancy. Moreover, having high blood pressure in the previous pregnancy can also lead to this issue in the second pregnancy. Preeclampsia can take a toll on the other organs of the body and harm the mother and her developing foetus (unborn baby). Hence, expecting mothers should be aware of the signs and symptoms of the condition.

Signs and symptoms of Preeclampsia

Proteinuria (excess bloodborne proteins in urine), low platelet numbers in the blood (thrombocytopenia), headaches, weakness, dizziness, water retention, blurred vision, light sensitivity, shortness of breath due to pulmonary fluid, vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain are some of the signs and symptoms of Preeclampsiathat one shouldn’t ignore. Timely diagnosis and regular monitoring of blood pressure can help keep it under control.

How preeclampsia impacts the baby

High blood pressure during pregnancy can restrict the baby’s growth and raise the chances of stillbirth. Those babies who fail to grow properly are likely to develop hypertension, coronary artery disease, and diabetes in adult life. Moreover, it can also lead to under-developed organs, breathing difficulties, jaundice and low immunity in the baby. There can even be foetal death that can occur from a sudden detachment of the placenta from the uterus called as abruption placenta due to this condition.

Tips to managepreeclampsia

Screening for development of pregnancy-induced hypertension can be done in the first trimester scans. High risk cases can be started on preventive medications till 9th month to delay the onset and reduce severity of this condition.

To manage this condition, the doctor will suggest appropriate medication and monitor the blood pressure from time to time. One will also be advised to eat a well-balanced diet inclusive of all the vital nutrients. One will be asked to reduce the salt intake and stick to healthy eating habits. It will be essential for pregnant women to take charge of their health and prevent this condition.