May 24, 2021

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month

Dr. Neera Bhatia Obgyn - May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month

Preeclampsia is a rare condition that occurs after being pregnant for 20 weeks and it can also appear as late as 4-6 weeks after the baby is delivered. It is characterized by newly developed hypertension (high blood pressure) and high levels of protein in urine. Severe cases of preeclampsia also present symptoms of damage to major organs. For complete prenatal care and expert service, see Dr. Neera Bhatia. She has been delivering babies for over 30 years, and her OBGYN office is in downtown San Antonio.

Detection and Treatment

The best practices to detect preeclampsia during and after your pregnancy are to have routine screenings with your doctor, monitor and document your heart rate often, understand your BP numbers, and share them with your local obstetrician.

Preeclampsia is only stopped by delivering the baby. Prior to induced delivery, patients with preeclampsia are typically hospitalized for a period to monitor the condition, watch for complications, and prepare the unborn baby. In anticipation of early delivery, these babies are treated with corticosteroids to speed up lung development.

Preeclampsia patients without severe features often have labor induced after 37 weeks whereas more severe cases often call for induced labor closer to 34 weeks.

What are Possible Symptoms?

There are varied causes of preeclampsia, which makes diagnosing it complicated. Preeclampsia can be asymptomatic, depending on the severity of its features. Cases are often detected during routine prenatal screenings. Women who have preeclampsia with severe features may have major organ damage and may experience:

  • Headaches
  • Visual disturbances: Blurred vision and scintillating scotomata (aura)
  • Altered mental status
  • Blindness: Cortical or retinal
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Edema (swelling): Sudden increase in edema or facial edema
  • Epigastric or right upper quadrant abdominal pain
  • Weakness or malaise: This may be evidence of hemolytic anemia
  • Clonus (repetitive muscle spasms or shakiness): May indicate an increased risk of convulsions

To learn more about preeclampsia, please click here.

Risk Factors

Risk factors (and their odds) for preeclampsia include:

  • Having never been pregnant before (3:1)
  • Being older than 40 years (3:1)
  • Being African American (1.5:1)
  • Having a family history of preeclampsia (5:1)
  • Having chronic renal disease (20:1)
  • Having chronic hypertension (10:1)
  • Having antiphospholipid syndrome (aka Hughes syndrome) (10:1)
  • Having diabetes mellitus (type 1 or 2) (2:1)
  • Being pregnant with twins (4:1)
  • Having a high body mass index (3:1)
  • Being homozygous for angiotensinogen gene T235 (20:1)
  • Being heterozygous for angiotensinogen gene T235 (4:1)

To start seeing Dr. Bhatia for all of your pregnancy needs, call our office today and schedule your first appointment. Contact Dr. Neera Bhatia, your San Antonio OB/GYN today at (210) 222-2694. We offer full obstetrical services from prenatal to post-partum care including In-office 3D/4D Ultrasound, Fetal Heart Monitoring, and Non-stress Test.

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Source: Medscape
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