Pregnancy is an exciting time in your life. To promote a healthy pregnancy, it’s very important to get early and regular prenatal care. At your prenatal visits, your provider will check you for concerning symptoms such as high blood pressure, swelling, and persistent headaches. These can be signs of preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition. Learn more about this pregnancy complication and how to keep you and your baby healthy.
What Is Preeclampsia?
“Preeclampsia is a pregnancy disorder characterized by high blood pressure and swelling. It is a rapidly progressive condition that can affect both mother and baby,” says Justin Gayle, MD, at Genesis OB/GYN, affiliated with St. Joseph & Texas A&M Health Network.
Preeclampsia typically occurs in mid to late pregnancy but can occur as early as 20 weeks gestation. If untreated, preeclampsia can lead to kidney and liver damage, heart problems, hypertension, or growth restriction to your baby. However, with good prenatal care and proper management of this pregnancy complication, it is possible to have a healthy baby and happy pregnancy.
What Are the Signs of Preeclampsia?
During your regular pregnancy checkup and prenatal visits, your doctor or nurse may ask if you’re experiencing any abnormal symptoms. If you experience any of the following, it’s important to share them with your doctor at your appointment. Some of the changes to look out for include:
- High blood pressure
- Excessive swelling in the face, ankles, and hands
- Persistent headaches
- Rapid weight gain
- Changes in vision
- Dark urine
- Upper abdominal pain
- Rapid heartbeat