What is Preeclampsia?

What is preeclampsia and how can you spot it?

Preeclampsia is a blood pressure condition that can happen after 20 weeks of pregnancy or when you've given birth. If left untreated, it can be very dangerous indeed for both you and your baby. The concept of preeclampsia can be scary for pregnant women however it's worth noting that in the UK, preeclampsia affects 6% of pregnancies and severe preeclampsia affects 1-2% of pregnancies so although it's a worrying condition to develop, the chances of developing it and it then being high risk, are lower than you think.

Pregnant_woman_having_blood_pressure_checked

What are the symptoms of preeclampsia?

You may have severe headaches, vision problems, pain just below the ribs, burning behind the sternum, nausea, confusion, visual disturbances, vomiting, sudden swelling of the feet, hands and ankles. If any of these symptoms materialise, consult triage or contact NHS 111 immediately and remember - preeclampsia can present itself even after you've given birth.

What makes preeclampsia more likely? 

There are a few factors that make preeclampsia more likely. These include being over 40 years of age, waiting more than 10 years between pregnancies, your pregnancy being your first, having a family history of the condition, having a BMI of over 35, and expecting multiples. 1 in 6 women who have had preeclampsia before, will have it in a future pregnancy.

How is preeclampsia diagnosed?

Preeclampsia is a condition that is completely unique to pregnancy . It is usually tested by taking a sample of your urine, your healthcare provider will be looking for signs of proteins which could indicate preeclampsia. It can also be diagnosed by the mother having consistently high blood pressure during pregnancy or when postpartum.

And what are the treatments?

To treat preeclampsia, you should be referred by your GP for an assessment by a specialist, which will usually happen in hospital. You’ll be monitored to determine how severe the condition is and if a hospital stay is needed.

Is there a cure for preeclampsia? 

Sadly, there is no cure for preeclampsia. Delivering the baby is the only 'cure'. It's also not known what causes preeclampsia however it's thought that preeclampsia is linked to issues with the placenta. When in hospital, you’ll usually be monitored on a regular basis until you are around 37-38 weeks along, or earlier if your preeclampsia is severe.

pregnant_woman_in_hospital_laying_over_birth_ball

Support for preeclampsia

If you need support or would like to research preeclampsia further then the NHS website is a valuable resource as well as Tommy's Charity and Action on Preeclampsia who's purpose is to provide support to those affected by preeclampsia. If you're in the USA then the Preeclampsia Foundation should be your port of call for support.

If you’re ever concerned about your health during your pregnancy, never hesitate to contact a healthcare professional. And for on demand reassurance from a midwife, you can reach out via our email helpline as and when you need. Remember, you can still practice hypnobirthing even if you have preeclampsia so be sure to check out the butterbean platform for all the prep you need during pregnancy and birth.

Pregnant_couple_hugging

What is Preeclampsia?

Pregnant_couple_hugging

What is preeclampsia and how can you spot it?

Preeclampsia is a blood pressure condition that can happen after 20 weeks of pregnancy or when you've given birth. If left untreated, it can be very dangerous indeed for both you and your baby. The concept of preeclampsia can be scary for pregnant women however it's worth noting that in the UK, preeclampsia affects 6% of pregnancies and severe preeclampsia affects 1-2% of pregnancies so although it's a worrying condition to develop, the chances of developing it and it then being high risk, are lower than you think.

What are the symptoms of preeclampsia?

You may have severe headaches, vision problems, pain just below the ribs, burning behind the sternum, nausea, confusion, visual disturbances, vomiting, sudden swelling of the feet, hands and ankles. If any of these symptoms materialise, consult triage or contact NHS 111 immediately and remember - preeclampsia can present itself even after you've given birth.

What makes preeclampsia more likely? 

There are a few factors that make preeclampsia more likely. These include being over 40 years of age, waiting more than 10 years between pregnancies, your pregnancy being your first, having a family history of the condition, having a BMI of over 35, and expecting multiples. 1 in 6 women who have had preeclampsia before, will have it in a future pregnancy.

How is preeclampsia diagnosed?

Preeclampsia is a condition that is completely unique to pregnancy . It is usually tested by taking a sample of your urine, your healthcare provider will be looking for signs of proteins which could indicate preeclampsia. It can also be diagnosed by the mother having consistently high blood pressure during pregnancy or when postpartum.

Pregnant_woman_having_blood_pressure_checked

And what are the treatments?

To treat preeclampsia, you should be referred by your GP for an assessment by a specialist, which will usually happen in hospital. You’ll be monitored to determine how severe the condition is and if a hospital stay is needed.

Is there a cure for preeclampsia? 

Sadly, there is no cure for preeclampsia. Delivering the baby is the only 'cure'. It's also not known what causes preeclampsia however it's thought that preeclampsia is linked to issues with the placenta. When in hospital, you’ll usually be monitored on a regular basis until you are around 37-38 weeks along, or earlier if your preeclampsia is severe.

pregnant_woman_in_hospital_laying_over_birth_ball

Support for preeclampsia

If you need support or would like to research preeclampsia further then the NHS website is a valuable resource as well as Tommy's Charity and Action on Preeclampsia who's purpose is to provide support to those affected by preeclampsia. If you're in the USA then the Preeclampsia Foundation should be your port of call for support.

If you’re ever concerned about your health during your pregnancy, never hesitate to contact a healthcare professional. And for on demand reassurance from a midwife, you can reach out via our email helpline as and when you need. Remember, you can still practice hypnobirthing even if you have preeclampsia so be sure to check out the butterbean platform for all the prep you need during pregnancy and birth.