Preeclampsia: what it is, main symptoms and treatment

Preeclampsia is a serious complication of pregnancy that appears to occur due to problems in the development of placental vessels, leading to spasms in blood vessels, changes in blood clotting capacity and decreased blood circulation.

Its symptoms can manifest during pregnancy, especially after the 20th week of gestation, at delivery or after delivery and include high blood pressure, greater than 140 x 90 mmHg, presence of proteins in the urine and swelling of the body due to the retention of liquids.

Some of the conditions that increase the risk of developing pre-eclampsia include when a woman becomes pregnant for the first time, is over 35 or under 17, is diabetic, obese, is pregnant with twins or has a history of kidney disease, hypertension or previous pre-eclampsia.

Main symptoms

The symptoms of pre-eclampsia may vary according to the type:

1. Mild preeclampsia

In mild pre-eclampsia, signs and symptoms generally include:

  • Blood pressure equal to 140 x 90 mmHg;
  • Presence of proteins in the urine;
  • Swelling and sudden weight gain, like 2 to 3 kg in 1 or 2 days.

In the presence of at least one of the symptoms, the pregnant woman should go to the emergency room or hospital to measure blood pressure and do blood and urine tests, to see whether or not she has pre-eclampsia.

2. Severe preeclampsia

In severe pre-eclampsia, in addition to swelling and weight gain, other signs may appear, such as:

  • Blood pressure greater than 160 x 110 mmHg;
  • Strong and constant headache;
  • Pain in the right side of the abdomen;
  • Decreased amount of urine and urge to urinate;
  • Changes in vision, such as blurred or darkened vision;
  • Burning sensation in the stomach.

If the pregnant woman has these symptoms, she should immediately go to the hospital.

How the treatment is done

The treatment of pre-eclampsia seeks to ensure the safety of the mother and baby, and tends to vary according to the severity of the disease and the length of pregnancy. In the case of mild pre-eclampsia, the obstetrician generally recommends that the woman stay at home and follow a low-salt diet with an increase in water intake to about 2 to 3 liters per day. In addition, rest should be strictly followed and preferably on the left side, in order to increase blood circulation to the kidneys and uterus.

During treatment, it is important for the pregnant woman to control her blood pressure and have routine urine tests, to prevent preeclampsia from getting worse.

In the case of severe pre-eclampsia, treatment is usually done with admission to the hospital. The pregnant woman needs to be hospitalized to receive antihypertensive drugs through the vein and keep her and the baby's health under close surveillance. According to the baby's gestational age, the doctor may recommend inducing labor to treat preeclampsia.

Possible complications of preeclampsia

Some of the complications that pre-eclampsia can cause are:

  • Eclampsia: it is more severe than pre-eclampsia, in which there are repeated episodes of seizures, followed by coma, which can be fatal if not treated immediately. Learn how to identify and treat and eclampsia;
  • HELLP Syndrome: another complication characterized by, in addition to the symptoms of eclampsia, the presence of blood cell destruction, with anemia, hemoglobins below 10.5% and a drop in platelets below 100,000 / mm3, in addition to elevated liver enzymes, with TGO above 70U / L. Find out more details about this syndrome;
  • Bleeding: they happen due to the destruction and decrease in the number of platelets, and compromised clotting capacity;
  • Acute lung edema: situation in which there is fluid collection in the lungs;
  • Liver and kidney failure: which can even become irreversible;
  • Prematurity of the baby: a situation that, if it is severe and without the proper development of its organs, can leave sequelae and compromise its functions.

These complications can be avoided if the pregnant woman does prenatal care during pregnancy, as the disease can be identified early and treatment can be done as quickly as possible.

The woman who had pre-eclampsia can become pregnant again, it is important that prenatal care is done strictly, according to the obstetrician's instructions.