Pregnancy comes with its own set of complications and responsibilities. This is why would-be mothers opt for a DNA test while they are pregnant, apart from scheduled visits to the OB/GYN. However, there are other specific conditions that might plague pregnant women, such as preeclampsia. The definition of this condition, its risks, underlying causes, and possible treatments will be examined down below.
What is preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a blood pressure/hypertension condition that can occur during pregnancy. Apart from high blood pressure, the condition is also characterized by increased protein concentration in the urine. Preeclampsia usually develops after the 20th week of pregnancy, but it can occur earlier in some cases. On rare occasions, it may develop postpartum, that is, after delivery.
What are the causes of preeclampsia?
One of the major culprits of preeclampsia is a lack of development of blood vessels in the placenta. While regular functioning blood vessels offer oxygen and nutrients to the unborn child, an underdeveloped blood vessel network leads to irregular blood pressure patterns in the mother.
What are the risk factors associated with preeclampsia?
If preeclampsia is left untreated, it can lead to serious complications for both the mother and the baby. These complications include eclampsia, a form of seizure disorder, placental abruption, wherein the placenta is separated from the uterine wall, kidney failure, and even liver damage.
Who is more susceptible to preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia risks can be divided into two cases: severe and mild. For the former, factors include:
- Twin or more pregnancies
- Presence of preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy
- High blood pressure
- The patient has diabetes- Type 1 or Type 2
- Autoimmune conditions
- Using artificial forms of conception such as in-vitro fertilization
On the other hand, women with these conditions have a mild risk of developing preeclampsia:
- Obesity or increased body weight
- First pregnancy
- Genetic history of preeclampsia
- High gestational age- 35 and above
- Very long gap since previous pregnancy
Are there any symptoms of preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia can be difficult to detect because it often has no noticeable symptoms apart from general nausea, abdominal pain, and headaches, which can very well be something else. For this reason, it is important for women to have regular prenatal care so that their health care provider can monitor their health markers. During the visits to the obstetrician, the following anomalies can indicate preeclampsia:
- Increased concentration of protein in the urine, or other issues related to the kidney
- Drop in platelet count in the bloodstream
- Increased concentration of liver enzymes
- Change in sight, including blurring or noticeable sensitivity to light
How is preeclampsia treated?
If you are diagnosed with preeclampsia, your health care provider will likely recommend bed rest and close monitoring of your blood pressure and urine. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary. If the condition is severe, the baby might need to be delivered early to prevent major organ damage or rupturing. For milder cases, regular monitoring, and a doctor-recommended dosage of aspirin or similar drugs can do the trick.
In conclusion, preeclampsia is a potentially serious condition, but it can be treated with proper medical care. In fact, most women with preeclampsia will go on to have normal pregnancies and deliver healthy babies.
At Prenatal Genetics Laboratory, we use ultra-modern methods to conduct fetal DNA testing that is safe for the mother and the baby. Our state-of-the-art techniques and highly trained technicians guarantee accurate results. Moreover, with a marked reduction in the cost of prenatal genetic testing, it is more convenient than ever to get the procedure done. Speak to us today to learn about our various services.