Expecting, But Feeling Ill? Understanding and Treating the Dangerous Nature of Preeclampsia

 Though is an exciting and joyous event, pregnancy can bring some difficult physical and emotional changes to your life. From an increase in weight and the physical and hormonal changes in the body to extreme fatigue and even anxiety, it is easy to see why so many pregnant women become overwhelmed. But aside from these usual issues, there can be more difficult ones. While surprising to hear, an estimated 3 to 5 percent of pregnant women in the United States develop preeclampsia. Although you may have heard of this condition, you may not be familiar with the signs and dangers of preeclampsia. Using this guide, you will come to understand this medical condition and learn the best options to treat your preeclampsia.

High Blood Pressure

Preeclampsia refers to having a high level of blood pressure while you are pregnant. If your blood pressure levels are higher than normal on or later than the 20th week of your pregnancy, you have preeclampsia.

High blood pressure causes numerous physical symptoms that are both uncomfortable and dangerous. If you have preeclampsia, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Swelling in the hands, feet, or face
  • Protein in the urine
  • Blurry, spotty, or impaired vision
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Upper abdominal discomfort


Although easy to treat with medications, high blood pressure can be very dangerous while pregnant. Not only can it cause you to develop cardiovascular issues, but it can also threaten the life of your unborn child.

After being diagnosed with preeclampsia, your obstetrician will conduct periodic ultrasounds and blood tests to check the health of your unborn child.

Preeclampsia prevents proper blood flow to the placenta, reducing your unborn baby's supply of oxygen and important nutrients. Many patients with preeclampsia suffer with an abruption of the placenta. This is when the placenta detaches from the uterus, resulting in heavy bleeding and problems with your baby's development.

Approximately 48,000 women will develop the HELLP syndrome due to preeclampsia. This syndrome causes Hemolysis ( the breaking down of red blood cells), Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low blood Platelets. HELLP causes you to have flu-like symptoms, which can be hazardous to your health and your pregnancy.

Eclampsia may also develop if you do not receive proper treatment for your preeclampsia. Eclampsia leads to periodic seizures and the premature delivery of your baby.


Your obstetrician will want to begin treating your preeclampsia as soon as possible to avoid the above dangers. Depending on the factors of the condition and your pregnancy, you may need to have your labor induced. This allows you to begin the delivery process, reducing any risks to your unborn baby.

Unfortunately, inducing a delivery is not always possible if you are suffering with preeclampsia early in your pregnancy. Medication will be prescribed to lower your high blood pressure. To prevent any side effects, your obstetrician will prescribe an antihypertensive medication that quickly lowers your blood pressure without the worry of dangerous, uncomfortable side effects.

Lowering your high blood pressure through diet and exercise is also possible. Avoid giving into extreme cravings and follow a well-balanced diet. Reduce your consumption of salty, high-sodium foods, as well. Since sodium increases your blood pressure, reducing your intake of table salt and processed foods is beneficial. Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are great options to add to your diet. Since they contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, you will see an improvement in your high blood pressure.

Light walking, swimming, and yoga are all effective and safe options for exercising while pregnant. Be sure to consult your obstetrician before beginning any new exercise program.

To learn more about preeclampsia, speak with a representative from an establishment like All Women's Clinic.