What is Preeclampsia, and What are the Signs and Symptoms?

Care about pregnant woman

Pregnancy affects women in a variety of ways, so it can be difficult to differentiate between normal side effects and those that indicate a health problem. Riverside Community Hospital urges expectant mothers to be attentive to body changes throughout pregnancy and maintain an open dialogue with their OBGYN to determine if something is amiss. Doctors stress that women should be especially aware of preeclampsia symptoms. Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by high blood pressure and excessive protein in urine. Since neither of these factors is readily apparent, expectant mothers must pay attention to the following symptoms:

Chronic Headaches
The fatigue of pregnancy can cause women to experience the occasional headache. If you begin to suffer from persistent headaches, you may want to contact your OBGYN. Reoccurring headaches are a symptom of preeclampsia, and if they do not abate with doctor-approved medication, they require further evaluation by a medical professional.

Swelling
Water retention is a common side effect of pregnancy; still, if you notice facial or finger swelling, request to see your OBGYN. This type of swelling, referred to as edema, is a sign of preeclampsia and typically occurs in the face and hands. Edema may also present as leg discoloration.

Vision Deterioration
Headaches and swelling do not always point to preeclampsia, but vision issues are clear indicators that you should consult your physician. Expectant mothers with preeclampsia may notice spots or flashing lights obstructing their vision. They may also experience general blurriness of vision. These symptoms may be either persistent or sporadic. In either case, do not delay to reach out to your OBGYN for help.

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month, and Riverside Community Hospital aims to bring a greater understanding to expectant mothers about their preeclampsia risks. For more information on this pregnancy complication, call (951) 788-3000. Patients can also take advantage of our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral program to learn about other preeclampsia warning signs.

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