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Women's Health

Mercy Women's Care at St. Anne
3404 W. Sylvania Avenue
Toledo, OH 43623

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Navarre Medical Plaza
2702 Navarre Avenue
Suite 101
Oregon, OH 43616

Mercy Women's Care at St. V's
2213 Cherry Street
Toledo, OH 43608

Third Trimester (Months 7-9) - Preeclampsia: One Reason Why Prenatal Visits are Important

separator Preeclampsia rarely occurs before the 24th week of pregnancy. Symptoms include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Protein in the urine
  • Swollen legs, ankles and fingers (edema)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision · Abdominal pain · Excessive weight gain

What Happens if you Have Preeclampsia?
During each of your routine prenatal visits, your blood pressure is tested and compared with what has been normal for you. If it's higher than usual, and it's detected early, your health care provider will probably advise you to rest in bed. Your blood pressure will be monitored closely and your urine tested to make sure preeclampsia doesn't develop.

If your blood pressure gets too high and remains untreated, it can damage your kidneys, brain, eyes and liver. It can also decrease the flow of blood to the placenta, which can cause your baby to be malnourished and underweight. At its most severe, preeclampsia becomes eclampsia, and seizures and loss of consciousness may result.

When preeclampsia becomes more severe, you may be placed on strict bedrest, given medication to lower your blood pressure or you may be hospitalized. It's also quite possible that your doctor will determine that a cesarean delivery is needed immediately, for your safety and for the baby's.

Who's More at Risk for Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is more common in women who have the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease

It's also more common in first pregnancies, in woman who are older than 35 and in women who are pregnant with multiples. But it can happen to any pregnant woman, no matter how well the pregnancy has been going.

Remember, preeclampsia can develop quickly. That's why routine prenatal care is so important. If you're resting at home because your blood pressure was a little higher at your last prenatal visit, pay attention to the way you feel. Ask your doctor what symptoms should prompt you to call. And don't hesitate to call if you have any doubts at all about your condition.

K Reynolds, C Lees, G McCartan, Pregnancy and Birth: Your Questions Answered. DK Publishing, 1997; A Eisenberg, What to Expect when You're Expecting, 1996.
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