Preeclampsia is a common medical condition in pregnancy that can harm you and/or your unborn baby. One pregnant woman in about 25 will develop preeclampsia.
Women with preeclampsia get high blood pressure usually after the 20th week of pregnancy. This can cause a stroke or kidney disease for the mother during the pregnancy or later in life. It can also damage the placenta and slow the baby’s growth. Early (preterm) delivery of the baby may be needed.
If you have preeclampsia in one pregnancy, it can increase your chance of having it in a future pregnancy. Any pregnant woman can get preeclampsia, but some women have an increased risk.
There’s a simple way to check. It involves asking you a few questions about you, your pregnancies, and your family history. A history of preeclampsia or pregnancy complications, for example, can increase your risk. Asking these questions before the 14th week of your pregnancy can tell whether you’re in the increased risk or lower risk group.
Let your prenatal care provider know that you want screening before the 14th week of your pregnancy.
Your prenatal care provider may want you to have extra visits and exams to make sure that your baby is growing properly. This is to know exactly how far along you are, just in case an early delivery would be helpful. Make sure that you listen to your prenatal care provider about diet, exercise, and medicines.
Your prenatal care provider may also talk with you about taking low-dose aspirin to help keep your blood flowing normally during pregnancy. This is key to avoiding preeclampsia.
** Low-dose aspirin is thought to be safe to use in pregnancy. In some women though, aspirin will not help, or worse, it can cause problems of its own. Medical experts support using aspirin to prevent preeclampsia only in women with increased risk.**
If you’re at increased risk, your prenatal care provider will talk to you about some simple steps that you can take to lower that risk. Preeclampsia doesn’t cause problems until later in pregnancy but steps to control it must be started early.
Then there’s nothing special that you need to do other than the usual things to stay healthy during your pregnancy. Follow the advice of your prenatal care provider