The condition has very basic symptoms but can be potentially hazardous to mothers as well as babies.
Pre-eclampsia is a condition when the blood pressure increases due to hormonal imbalance caused in pregnancy. It can be mild and symptomless, but can become severe and lead to stroke.
Women suffering with this condition complain of frequent headaches and bloated hands and feet. The condition usually strikes after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
In 1,00,000 deliveries there have been 200 cases of preeclampsia recorded by senior gynecologist Dr Sruthi Reddy and she’s here to answer all questions about the condition.
What is pre-eclampsia and how common is it?
Pre-eclampsia is a condition specific to pregnancy where blood pressure increases along with protein loss in urine. It can occur in five to 10 per cent of all pregnancies.
What are the reasons for pre-eclampsia?
Exact reasons are still not known. But most likely, it happens due to abnormal placentation, decreasing the blood supply to the baby and increasing the blood pressure in the mother.
Which age-group of women are found to suffer from it?
It can occur at any age but incidents are more common in extreme age grou-ps — young pregnancies and pregnancies aged above 40. In rare cases, it is also seen in women who have first pregnancies at about 35 years of age.
Does it occur in first pregnancy or become a condition in later pregnancies?
It occurs mostly in first pregnancies but there can be a recurrence of 10-15 per cent in subsequent pregnancies. If the patient has medical disorders like hypertension or chronic diabetes or autoimmune disorders, the recurrence risk is high.
Can it become severe and lead to a stroke in women during pregnancy or is it a complication that has to be handled during delivery?
Pre-eclampsia can be present as varied spectrum. It can just disappear after the delivery but can also cause severe complications like fits, renal failure, bleeding disorder, heart failure as well as stroke.
Do women suffering from pre-eclampsia have normal delivery or do they need C-section?
If the mother is stable and birth canal score is favourable, we can induce labour and deliver them normally. In severe conditions sometimes early delivery by cesarean section is needed.
If pre-eclampsia is identified early, does it reduce the chances of complications?
Yes. Blood tests and scans at 12 weeks and 20 weeks can predict the chances for pre-eclampsia and medication can be provided. Early diagnosis and timely medication help to prevent complications.
Can diet regulations and exercise help? If so, please explain how.
Salt restriction but not completely avoiding the salt, not gaining weight excessively during pregnancy can decrease the risk. Exercise will help to control the weight gain and decrease the risk of pre-eclampsia and its severity.