It’s another #HealthTalkThursday??????
In March, I published a post on the untold stories of pregnancy and childbirth. And while that post was a bit lighthearted, it gave me the inspiration to start a pregnancy series. The pregnancy series will cover a wide range of topics on pregnancy and the immediate postpartum period. To kickstart this series, this month we will be talking about Pre Eclampsia.
This month, we have a guest writer ???.
My friend Temiloluwa Durojaiye decided to hop on the blog and bless us with her writing ??. Temi is not just my friend, she is also a Registered Nurse, an author, a blogger, a youtuber, and an overall correct human being ❤❤❤
So sit back, read, and learn a thing or two.
The complications of Pregnancy
A moment of carelessness or a planned decision, some spotting or a late period, bloated feeling, the two lines on the test strip, a trip to the doctor’s office that confirms a successfully implanted embryo or a lab test just to be sure and boom – you are confirmed pregnant. A new journey begins should you decide to keep this baby. As much as a lot of pregnancy journeys have a happy ending, the reality is there are lots of (potential) complications that accompany pregnancy which in the health context is also a health condition. Some of these potential complications include –
i) an ectopic pregnancy – the fetus growing outside in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus and is life threatening
ii) a spontaneous abortion also known as a miscarriage – this is the loss of a fetus before 20 weeks
iii) Placenta problems – placenta separating from the uterine wall before baby is born thus threatening to the baby’s life and the mother
iv) Gestational Hypertension – High blood pressure whose onset is in pregnancy
v)Gestational Diabetes – High blood sugar whose onset is in pregnancy usually diagnosed after 20 weeks.
vi) Pre-eclampsia, Eclampsia and HELLP syndrome – usually characterized by protein in urine, low platelets and high blood pressure, elevated liver enzymes in the case of HELLP syndrome and very life threatening to baby and mom as can lead to slow growth of baby and eventual fetal demise
The complications listed above is not an exhaustive list and this article is not to scare you, but to keep you aware of potential complications and signs to look out for. Particularly, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia will be discussed in this write-up.
What is Preeclampsia? And What are the signs and symptoms?
Pre-eclampsia, according to Mayo Clinic is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and damage to an organ – kidney or the liver.
Other signs and symptoms include headache, abdominal pain, visual disturbances, nausea and vomiting, abnormal weight gain, swelling in hands and feet, confusion, and these can be mistaken as normal pregnancy symptoms.
Usually, it is diagnosed incidentally on a trip to the doctor’s office for your usual antenatal care, and it can also occur in the after-pregnancy period. The severity of pre-eclampsia ranges from person to person and a research conducted in UK in 2016 showed that 79% black African women have a higher chance of developing preeclampsia compared to Caucasian and other ethnic groups.
Preeclampsia progresses to eclampsia when a seizure occurs.
What puts you at risk for Pre-eclampsia?
Risk factors include for pre-eclampsia include: previous history of pre-eclampsia, Obesity, Chronic hypertension, First pregnancy, Multiple pregnancy (i.e twin, triplet or other multiples), New paternity for baby, IVF, Time interval between pregnancies (ie less than 2 yrs or greater than 10yrs), Race (i.e black women are more affected), Age (less than 18 or greater than 35)
You should note that having any of these risk factors does not mean you will surely have Pre-eclampsia.
What happens next after a Pre-eclampsia diagnosis?
Usually if this is discovered on an antenatal visit, you should be sent for more tests. Based on the results of the tests and monitoring of how the fetus is doing, a treatment plan commences. Your doctor may put you on bedrest and order frequents tests and ultrasound to monitor you and baby. If preeclampsia is severe, the birth of the fetus(es) is advised. You may also be given blood pressure medications, magnesium or steroids depending on your treatment plan. The birth of the fetus(es) is the most effective treatment for Pre-eclampsia.
Even when the baby has been born, it is important to still look out for signs of preeclampsia in the immediate postpartum period.
Early detection is really important. In your pregnancy, always go for your antenatal visits, pay attention to changes in how you are feeling, report any persistent headache, and ask for more tests if you feel “funny”. One thing to keep in mind is it feels wrong, something might be wrong, and it does not hurt to have it checked out.
You can visit https://preeclampsia.org/ for more information
Disclaimer – This post should in no way substitute for professional medical advice. If you are having any concerns, please speak to your doctor.
So there you have it; basic info on pre eclampsia. I remember saying in my march post that pregnancy is a natural but imperfect process. We have to recognise that things may go wrong. And that is why it is important to arm ourselves with that knowledge, and consult with medical practitioners if we think something is wrong.
I’m sure you enjoyed Temiloluwa’s writing. You can check her out on Youtube, IG (@temidimples) and on www.temidimples.com .
And yes, as you can tell, she likes to flaunt her beautiful dimples in our faces ??? #WahalaForWhoNoGetDimples.
2 thoughts on “The Pregnancy Series: Pre-eclampsia”
Wow, thanks for this informative piece. It’s very mind boggling to imagine how dangerous it can be to produce life. Mothers really deserve all the praise and worship available.
However, I’d like to ask, apart from complications to the foetus, are there any long term effects on the baby (probably upto adulthood) when eventually delivered?
Thank you Snoopydave!
You are right, Mothers deserve all the accolades????
To your question, pre-eclampsia is usually more harmful to mom than baby. Complications that might affect baby are usually from baby being delivered too early (preterm delivery) and not specific to mom’s pre eclampsia diagnosis.