Who’s at Risk for Preeclampsia?

Who’s at Risk for Preeclampsia?

Women have been giving birth since the dawn of time, so it seems like we’d have worked out the kinks by now. But there are still some conditions that can complicate a pregnancy and delivery that we can’t predict or prevent.

Preeclampsia — high blood pressure during pregnancy — is one of those conditions. 

Dr. Christopher Serrano at Serrano OBGyn in San Antonio, Texas, understands the dangers of preeclampsia and helps moms-to-be spot the warning signs that may save their life — and their baby’s life. Here’s what you need to know about this dangerous condition and how to determine if you’re at risk for it.

Understanding preeclampsia

Even if your blood pressure has been normal your whole life, that can change when you’re carrying a baby. Things may be going along just fine until you reach week 20, and your blood pressure goes up to 140/90 or higher. 

In its earliest stages, preeclampsia is asymptomatic, which is why regular prenatal care is so important. When you come in for your scheduled appointments, we always check your blood pressure so we can detect changes before they progress and cause problems.

If you ignore preeclampsia, it can become serious and lead to dire complications or death. The best way to keep you and your baby safe and alive is often to deliver the baby immediately. 

Signs you have preeclampsia

Preeclampsia typically develops gradually, but it may come on suddenly in some cases. When symptoms do appear, you may notice:

In the office, we may detect excess protein in your urine, fewer platelets in your blood, and impaired liver function.

Are you at risk for preeclampsia?

Although any woman can develop preeclampsia, you’re more likely to get it if you:

You may also be at a higher risk for preeclampsia if you got pregnant via in vitro fertilization. 

Complications of preeclampsia

Left unchecked, preeclampsia endangers the health and life of you and your baby.

Dangers to your baby

Preeclampsia can restrict your baby’s growth while in the womb because it restricts blood flow to the placenta, which can cause low birth weight.

If you have preeclampsia, we may need to deliver your baby early. Depending on how early, your baby could have underdeveloped lungs and suffer from breathing problems.

In some cases, preeclampsia causes the placenta to pull away from the inner wall of your uterus, which can cause severe bleeding and put your baby in life-threatening danger.

Dangers to you

Preeclampsia is the forerunner to eclampsia, which includes all the symptoms of preeclampsia plus seizures. If this occurs, we must deliver your baby immediately regardless of the stage of development. 

Preeclampsia can lead to cardiovascular problems for the mother both during pregnancy and in the future. Another risk of preeclampsia is organ damage, and you could sustain irreparable harm to your kidneys, liver, eyes, lungs, heart, or brain.

What to do if you have preeclampsia

About 1 in 25 women experience preeclampsia during their pregnancy. If you’re one of them, Dr. Serrano advises you on exactly what to do. Treatment recommendations depend on several variables, chief among them the severity of your condition and the gestational age and development of your baby.

In some cases, we may be able to lower your blood pressure with medications, corticosteroids can improve your liver and platelet function, and anticonvulsants can prevent seizures.

Bed rest is a given if you have preeclampsia, but this can also increase your risk for getting blood clots, so we monitor you closely. Sometimes that means you need to stay in the hospital.

Dr. Serrano has successfully seen many women through high-risk pregnancies, including preeclampsia. The best way to make sure you and your baby make it through from conception to delivery without a hitch is to get excellent prenatal care all the way through with Dr. Serrano.

To schedule your prenatal appointment, call our office or book it online. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Yes, You Do Need Prenatal Vitamins

Getting ready for a new addition to your family is an exciting time, and it’s also a time of increasing demands on your body. Prenatal vitamins can help ensure you and your developing baby stay healthy. Here’s why they’re so important.

What is a High-Risk Pregnancy?

When you’re pregnant, there’s always a risk of complications for you and your unborn baby. Certain conditions, such as carrying multiples, increases that risk. Learn what constitutes a high-risk pregnancy and what that means for you.

Are You at Risk for Gestational Diabetes?

With proper treatment and regular monitoring, health conditions that arise during pregnancy can be managed effectively. It’s wise to find out the risks and what you can do to keep you and your baby healthy.

Which Foods Aren’t Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

Of course, you want to do everything you can to have a healthy pregnancy. Did you know that your diet is vitally important — not only what to eat, but what not to eat? Learn more about the foods you should avoid for a healthy pregnancy.

Balance Your Hormones and Restore Your Sex Life

It’s hard to talk about your private sex life, and that’s exactly why we want to. You need to know that more fulfilling sex life isn’t far away. Here’s the skinny on how hormone therapy can help.

4 Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts

Women’s bodies are complicated, and we’re used to dealing with cramps, twinges, and aches. So how do you know when your symptoms are serious and when they may indicate an ovarian cyst? Keep reading to find out.