Learn about preeclampsia to keep you and your baby safe.

A healthy pregnancy is at the top of every mom’s birth plan.  Sometimes though, your body may have other ideas.  Preeclampsia, which is sometimes called toxemia, is a condition that no mother can plan for or prevent.  Preeclampsia combines high blood pressures along with protein that is released into the urine, and if left untreated can lead to premature birth, a smaller than average baby, and even seizures that could put both mom and baby’s lives in danger.

Symptoms of Preeclampsia

Most women who develop preeclampsia are young teenagers or women over the age of 40.  For the most part, doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes some women to develop the condition, but it may have some root in hormones (they cause everything else, so why not?).  A family history of pregnancy blood pressure problems, being over-weight, and maybe even poor nutrition may also be to blame. Other medical conditions like diabetes or lupus that developed before your pregnancy may also increase your risk.  That’s why it’s important to see a trusted gynecologist like Dr. Hessel before you conceive so she can review your history and risk factors—this can help you watch for any potential complications that might arise once you are pregnant. Most cases of preeclampsia can be treated with blood pressure medications and careful monitoring.  Headaches, blurry vision, chest pain or abdominal pain that is below the ribs on the right side of the body should be reported to your doctor—they could be a sign of a new complication. If your blood pressure isn’t well controlled and continues to rise there is the risk of seizures—we call this eclampsia.  Eclampsia can be a serious and dangerous condition for both mom and baby and will require immediate help by a trained medical provider.

Treatment for Preeclampsia

The only real treatment for preeclampsia is to deliver the baby as soon as possible.  While not every woman has blood pressure problems immediately, birth is not a guaranteed cure-all.  Some women who have had no previous blood pressure problems may not see a rise in their numbers until hours or days after they have delivered. Pregnancy, and the days following it can be unpredictable to say the least.  Shouldn’t you have a trained, qualified provider on your side?  Dr. Hessel is here to guide you, teach you, and prepare you for the birth of your baby.  And should the unexpected arise, you can trust her to be by your side ensuring that you and your new family have the best care available.  Thinking of becoming pregnant? Or maybe you already are—Dr. Hessel welcomes you to her office.  Make an appointment today and find out what makes her the trusted physician for so many women in the New York area.