As you probably already know from my post a week or two ago, we are about to celebrate my little boy’s first birthday this Saturday! But one year ago yesterday actually marked the beginning of the events leading up to his arrival. I experienced a complication in my pregnancy called preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs during pregnancy and the postpartum period. According to the Preeclampsia Foundation, preeclampsia affects at least 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies.
Some of the symptoms of preeclampsia include the following.
- High blood pressure (140/90 or higher)
- Excess protein in the urine
- Severe headaches
- Vision changes
- Sudden weight gain
- Swelling (especially in the face and hands)
Most of the time, preeclampsia only modestly increases blood pressure, but if left untreated, it can lead to serious (possibly fatal) complications for you and your baby. The only cure is delivery of the baby. The disorder is actually responsible for 15% of premature births in the United States every year. (Be sure not to miss our article on prematurity coming up in the December 2009 issue of ParentLife.)
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor. Check out the Mayo Clinic’s tips for preparing for your doctor visit for helpful questions to ask.
There is no way to prevent preeclampsia. In order to take the best care of yourself and your baby, be sure to seek early and regular prenatal care.
My sweet little boy, Jack, was delivered exactly one month earlier than expected and spent about a week in the NICU, but he is now so happy and healthy (thanks to an awesome medical team). You would never know he had such a difficult start.
If you are an expectant parent, be sure to check out ParentLife‘s monthly department "On the Way." Our goal is to provide you with practical and encouraging information to help you during your pregnancy. What kind of information would you like to see in our "On the Way" deparmtent? Leave us a comment and let us know. We’d love to hear from you!