Our Tips for Managing Preeclampsia During Pregnancy

May 30, 2024 | Blog

Being pregnant brings on an abundance of bodily changes, many of which are perfectly normal. But it also includes the potential for complications, which is part of the reason you’ll frequently see your practitioner for monitoring.

Preeclampsia is one example of the conditions your obstetrician will watch for closely. While it can be harmful if left unaddressed, knowing its signs will allow you to get prompt treatment if needed. Here, we share some common preeclampsia symptoms and prevention strategies to help you stay informed. 

But First, What Exactly Is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is prolonged high blood pressure that can develop during pregnancy. While it’s often diagnosed in the third trimester, it can also occur earlier, known as early-onset preeclampsia. For some women, the condition may even develop after giving birth.

Historically, methods for measuring high levels of protein in the urine were used to diagnose preeclampsia. But in 2013, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued revised guidelines based on the fact that the condition can develop without the presence of these elevated proteins. 

While protein levels can still be used to detect it, preeclampsia is now also diagnosed by high blood pressure that develops either during pregnancy or postpartum, decreased blood platelets, liver or kidney problems, fluid in the lungs, or brain-related symptoms, such as visual disturbances and seizures.

Should it go untreated, preeclampsia could affect your organs and lead to serious complications for you and your baby. But your routine prenatal appointments, which increase in frequency as you get closer to your delivery date, are designed to check for signs. If it’s detected, interventions such as daily blood pressure checks and medications can be used to control your risk of complications.

Preeclampsia Symptoms to Watch for

In its early stages, preeclampsia typically doesn’t present symptoms. This is why it’s often first discovered through blood work or urine samples. So, if you feel as if you’re just constantly giving blood or peeing into cups all the time during pregnancy, trust that it’s for a good reason. 

Because high blood pressure can sometimes develop quickly, you should also still be aware of the following preeclampsia symptoms:

  • Vision changes, including blurriness, sensitivity to light, flashing spots and auras, or vision loss
  • Abdominal discomfort (especially beneath your ribs on your right side)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Intense headaches
  • Confusion or heightened anxiety

Preeclampsia after birth carries the same symptoms, so whether you notice these issues before or after you’ve delivered your baby, contact us right away.

How to Prevent Preeclampsia

There are many risk factors for preeclampsia, only some of which you can control. Being African American, having a family history of preeclampsia, and being over 40 increases your risk for the condition. You’re also more likely to develop it if you’ve had it in an earlier pregnancy, or if you’re pregnant with more than one baby. If your doctor determines that you’re more at risk for preeclampsia, you may be advised to start taking baby aspirin, which can reduce your risk by about 15%.

Regardless of your risk profile, lifestyle choices like maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are preventive steps you can take. Additionally, aim to control your blood pressure by avoiding caffeine and limiting your salt intake.

Schedule an Appointment With Rosa Gynecology

Pregnancy can be overwhelming with or without complications, but knowing your health is in the best hands can bring peace of mind. With accurate pregnancy testing and other preventative services, our team is your source for gynecological wellness through all of life’s phases. Request an appointment online or call 770-487-9604.

Latest Posts

The Most Common Gynecologic Cancers and Their Symptoms

The Most Common Gynecologic Cancers and Their Symptoms

Thanks to advancements in women’s gynecological health (like the Pap smear), we can now detect and treat cervical cancer far earlier than we could in the past. But this is only one type of gynecologic cancer, and understanding the full scope of this group of cancers...

The Influence of Diet and Nutrition on Reproductive Health

The Influence of Diet and Nutrition on Reproductive Health

The foods we eat have a far-reaching impact on our body’s inner workings, and our reproductive system is no exception. If you’re trying to get pregnant, understanding the relationship between food and fertility can be helpful in your journey of trying to conceive....

Exercise and Fitness Tips After Pregnancy

Exercise and Fitness Tips After Pregnancy

After your body has grown and birthed a human, you’ll need ample time to rest and heal. Whether you’ve delivered vaginally or via C-section, afterward your uterus will have an eight-and-a-half-inch wound – roughly the size of a dinner plate – left behind from your...