Progressive Women's Healthcare

Let's Talk About the Warning Signs of Preeclampsia

Jun 20, 2024
Let's Talk About the Warning Signs of Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia affects one in 25 pregnancies in the United States, so this is a pregnancy-related condition that’s worth understanding a little more, especially when it comes to symptoms. Do you know the warning signs?

Pregnancy is a time of great change in your body, and it can be tough to keep track of everything that’s going on. This also means it can be challenging to figure out what’s cause for concern and what’s par for the course when it comes to nurturing a new life and bringing that life into the world.

While we don’t want to frighten you with complications, our team of women’s health and pregnancy experts at Progressive Women’s Healthcare believes it’s important that expectant moms have at least a basic understanding of common pregnancy issues. 

And preeclampsia is on this list as it affects one in 25 pregnancies in the United States, or 4%.

As with any medical issues, identifying a problem in its earliest stages is always best. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a few warning signs that might indicate preeclampsia.

A few basics about preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication in which your blood pressure is high during your pregnancy or after you give birth. This gestational hypertension can become severe and lead to serious complications like premature birth, organ failure, and fluid in your lungs. 

Please note that preeclampsia doesn’t necessarily stem from pre-existing high blood pressure — the condition can strike women who’ve never had hypertension issues.

Preeclampsia also doesn't typically develop until after the 20th week of pregnancy. It most often crops up between weeks 24 and 27.

The sad reality is that preeclampsia is responsible for 50,000 maternal deaths and more than a half-million fetal deaths worldwide each year. It’s very much worth recognizing the signs of this concerning condition because, despite these frightening numbers, many more mothers and newborns come out the other side in good health thanks to early detection and management of preeclampsia.

Signs of preeclampsia

One of the issues with hypertension is that it doesn’t necessarily have early warning signs, which is why we routinely monitor your blood pressure during your prenatal care visits. 

Still, we want you to be on the lookout for any of the following developments:

1. Headaches

When you have preeclampsia, you might experience a dull, throbbing headache, as well as a heightened sensitivity to light.

2. Mid-term nausea and vomiting

If you develop stomach upset in the form of nausea and vomiting in the middle of your pregnancy, we want to know about it.

3. Pain

Women with preeclampsia can experience abdominal pain as well as discomfort on the right side of the body — around your ribs or in your shoulder

4. Blurry vision

Another warning sign of potentially dangerous preeclampsia are vision changes Things may become more blurry, or you could have visual disturbances.

5. Reduced fetal movement

If your baby seems less active than normal, this is something you should tell us straight away. Lethargy in fetal movement could indicate preeclampsia or another issue.

The truth is that anytime you experience symptoms that just don’t feel right, we want you to let us know so we can investigate. Whether we find preeclampsia or another issue, we can take swift action to protect you and your unborn child.

If you have more questions about preeclampsia, please don’t hesitate to call Progressive Women’s Healthcare in Atlanta, Georgia, at 404-383-7387 or click here to book an appointment today.