Though not many people have heard of the name, preeclampsia is a potentially dangerous result of high blood pressure in pregnant women, particularly those who are pregnant for the first time.

Initial Signs

Usually the signs of preeclampsia are visible after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. An elevation in blood pressure is often the first sign, but other symptoms such as swollen legs and a positive protein urine test can indicate a problem for the expectant mother. Other symptoms are headaches and nausea and vomiting. As you can see, there are signs that can be ignored as innocent and common health problems.

How Big A Problem?

Preeclampsia can result in the death of the fetus or both the mother and the baby. It is a very serious condition that requires immediate medical attention, as it can progress very rapidly. Even if the condition is discovered early, there are potential negative consequences that can affect either the baby or the baby and the mother. This is a situation where it is far better to be overcautious than believing nothing is wrong.

Unexpected Hypertension

Though the cause of preeclampsia is unknown, what is known is high blood pressure causes much of the concern and havoc if the condition goes undiscovered and untreated. Every major organ in the body can be affected. In one specific case, the blood flow to the baby from the umbilical cord was cut off. Though no cause has yet been identified, women who have a family history of high blood pressure or who are overweight before becoming pregnant need to take special care of their blood pressure.

While high blood pressure is often associated with heart disease, particularly in older people, it is always a concern for first time mothers regardless of their health history. Though preeclampsia is not a topic often discussed widely, recent occurrences in the Southern United States have brought it back into the public eye.

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