Screening for preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, is routine at prenatal visits, but every woman should know the warning signs of this serious pregnancy complication, says John T. Repke, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Penn State.
Preeclampsia, which usually develops after the 20th week of pregnancy, reduces blood flow to the baby and can cause health problems for Mom. Women at greatest risk are those with a family or personal history of preeclampsia, high blood pressure, or preexisting diabetes; or women who are obese or carrying more than one baby. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Recurring or unremitting headaches
- Excessive swelling of feet, hands, or face
- Abdominal pain, particularly on the right side
- Rapid weight gain (i.e, 10 pounds in 4 days)
- Blurred vision; seeing light flashes or spots
- Flu-like achiness without the usual runny nose or sore throat
Marguerite Lamb is a mother of two in Glastonbury, Connecticut.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, December 2004.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.