Preeclampsia: Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Natural Tr...Mama Natural
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Preeclampsia: Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Natural Treatments: https://www.mamanatural.com/preeclampsia/
Preeclampsia (formerly toxemia) is a pregnancy complication where mamas experience high blood pressure and fluid retention. It can lead to inadequate blood supply to the uterus. For baby, it can cut off nutrients and raises the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth.
This makes regular prenatal visits so important, mamas. Your doctor or midwife monitors for signs you may miss through physical exams and urine tests, as preeclampsia can sneak up on you, even if you had normal blood pressure pre-pregnancy.
Most worrisome, preeclampsia is the start of eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition that can cause seizures and blood clotting issues.
Typically, preeclampsia’s onset occurs after the 20 week mark, with the third trimester the most critical.
So what are the signs? While not every mama with preeclampsia will show symptoms, there are major flags to watch out for that you should discuss with your doctor, like:
Headaches: These can be severe and should be immediately reported to your health provider. You may notice more frequent, unexplained headaches as well. Trust your body, mamas.
Dizziness: Like headaches, unexplained dizziness is a sign that something isn’t quite right.
Vision changes: Are you squinting more often, mama? Is it harder to read up close or far away? While pregnancy can alter vision for some, it is a sign to watch out for.
Visual disturbances: As seen with migraine headaches, you may experience what professionals called “floaters” or tiny specks as you look around.
High blood pressure: You may not notice this unless you regularly monitor your blood pressure, as hypertension doesn’t always have physical symptoms. Sometimes it can cause a flushed feeling or anxiety.
Fatigue: Pregnancy is exhausting on its own, but a sudden increase is cause for concern.
Nausea and/or abdominal pain: Like fatigue, nausea goes hand in hand with pregnancy, but abdominal pain or abrupt nausea should be mentioned to your doctor.
Sudden weight gain: Preeclampsia affects how your body’s organ systems function, leading to water retention that will tip the scales up rapidly. If you notice that you’re gaining more than usual, it’s cause for concern.
Swelling: Typically seen in the extremities, immediately report swelling to your doctor.
Protein in urine: Detected by your healthcare provider during regular urine tests, protein in urine hints that your kidneys aren’t working as they should be.
If diagnosed, there are ways to manage the illness, including:
Rest: Taking it easy can help prevent blood pressure spikes. Don’t overwork yourself and avoid stress at all costs (as hard as it can be!!!)
Bed rest: It can be tricky, especially if you’re in full-blown nesting mode, but if prescribed, you must follow doctor’s orders. Laying on your left side is especially helpful for managing your blood pressure.
Frequent monitoring: Your healthcare provider may increase your visits to monitor both you and baby. This may include more ultrasounds and fetal heart rate monitoring.
Hospitalization: In severe preeclampsia, hospitalized bed rest may be required. It may sound scary, but it’s in you and baby’s best interest.
Medication: Various medications may be prescribed to lower your blood pressure and/or prevent seizures if your case is severe. Your doctor may also prescribe steroid shots to strengthen baby’s lungs if early delivery is required.
With that in mind, knowing your risk factor is critical. While pregnancy itself risks the illness, some things put you particularly in danger of preeclampsia, including:
Age: Teenage mothers and those over age 35 are more at-risk
Autoimmune illness: Having one such as type 2 diabetes or lupus can up your chances.
Blood pressure problems: High blood pressure pre-pregnancy puts you at a higher risk of the complication and ideally should be under control before trying to conceive
Genetics: If your mama or sister had preeclampsia, your risk is elevated.
Race: African American and Hispanic women are more at-risk
Multiple pregnancy: Multiples put more stress on the body, especially the placenta, which may be the source of the complication.
Weight: A higher BMI elevates risk.
With these risk factors in mind, you may not be able to prevent preeclampsia entirely, but there are ways you can reduce your chances, like:
Monitoring your weight
Drink enough water
Quit smoking and/or drinking
Blood pressure control
In addition to lifestyle adjustments, there are nutritional steps you can take to reduce your risk of preeclampsia, like:
Take your prenatal
Eat more fibrous, nutritious food
Try tart cherry juice
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