Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a potentially dangerous pregnancy condition that can develop during the last few months of your pregnancy. It occurs in about 1 in 20 pregnancies.It is often also called "toxemia of pregnancy" or "pregnancy induced hypertension" (PIH). This reason for this condition is not well understood but seems to be due to your body reacting to the pregnancy process resulting in your blood pressure going up and your kidneys spilling protein in your urine. Other symptoms can also occur such as headaches that are constant, pain under your right rib, decreased urine production, seeing flashing lights or spots and unusually rapid increase in swelling of your hands, face, and legs. Sometimes your liver and your blood_s ability to clot will be affected as well. It is seen more often in women during their first pregnancy, older mothers, and in women with parents or siblings who developed the condition during their pregnancy. The condition can rapidly deteriorate and can be life threatening to both you and your baby. It is therefore very important for you to contact your health care provider immediately if you have any of these above mentioned symptoms. If your health care provider suspects that you might be developing preeclampsia, you will probably be put on bedrest and watched very carefully. Bedrest seems to slow the process down. Blood tests will be performed. If the condition is severe or continues to worsen, you may develop dangerous seizures that can affect both you and your baby. Due to these dangers, your labor will then most likely be induced since the delivery of your baby is the only way to improve your condition. Even if your pregnancy has not reached full term (37 weeks), your labor might still be induced depending upon the severity of your condition. If you are being induced for preeclampsia, you will most likely be given an intravenous medication during labor called magnesium sulfate in order to prevent a potential seizure.