Who's at Risk for Preeclampsia

Who's at Risk for Preeclampsia

 Preeclampsia, a dangerous rise in blood pressure, is a complication of pregnancy that occurs after the 20th week of gestation or while giving birth. Without treatment, preeclampsia can cause:

Worldwide, preeclampsia is responsible for 10-15% of maternal deaths. If you’ve only heard about preeclampsia on TV shows as a featured storyline — such as Lady Sybil’s death in Downton Abbey or a pregnant mother who died on ER — you may be terrified that you can develop preeclampsia. 

However, preeclampsia is usually caught and treated during regular prenatal visits in the United States. Most women with preeclampsia give birth to healthy babies and recover from the condition themselves. 

At Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville, our expert OB/GYNs, Daniel McDyer, MD, FACOG, and Julian Stephen Suhrer, MD, test for preeclampsia throughout your pregnancy. If you’re at risk, they may label your pregnancy as “high risk” to ensure you get the extra care and monitoring you need at our two Jacksonville, Florida offices. 

Are you at risk for preeclampsia? Read through the following brief to learn more or talk to your doctor in depth about this serious condition.

Anyone can get preeclampsia

The bad news is that all pregnant women are at risk for preeclampsia. The American College of Gynecologists (ACOG) warns that even healthy young women are at risk.

Preeclampsia often has no symptoms, either. It’s best to keep your neonatal exams so your health practitioner can monitor your blood pressure and other variables, such as liver and kidney function.

You are more at risk if you are carrying multiples

Pregnant women with two or more fetuses have a higher risk for preeclampsia. That’s why we consider your multiple pregnancy “high risk,” no matter how uneventful it proceeds.

The “high risk” label shouldn’t make you nervous, though. It’s a way of ensuring that you and your baby are monitored more closely during every stage of pregnancy so that you both stay healthy. 

You are at increased risk if you have underlying conditions

The more health conditions you had before becoming pregnant, the more likely you are to develop preeclampsia. Your practitioner labels your pregnancy as high-risk if you have the following:

If you developed preeclampsia during a prior pregnancy, you’re at increased risk for preeclampsia and its complications during your current pregnancy.

Personal and familial risk factors

Some risk factors are beyond your control, such as a family history of preeclampsia. Increased risk is also associated with conditions and behaviors, such as:

Health care researchers aren’t exactly sure why some women develop preeclampsia while others don’t, no matter their risk factors. 

How is preeclampsia treated?

If you have mild preeclampsia before the 37th week, your health practitioner monitors you closely and possibly requests you have blood pressure monitoring at home. 

Usually, once your baby is at 37 weeks and you develop preeclampsia, we recommend early delivery. In most cases, cesarean (i.e., C-section) is the safest choice, but you may still be able to deliver vaginally.

We may also recommend an early delivery if you’re below 37 weeks and your preeclampsia worsens. During labor and after delivery, your OB/GYN may administer intravenous magnesium to prevent eclampsia, which are seizures caused by preeclampsia.

Book your next prenatal visit for a healthy pregnancy by contacting our supportive team today. Call our Jacksonville, Florida, location nearest you, or use our online appointment form.

You Might Also Enjoy...

6 Early Warning Signs of Menopause

Unless you have a hysterectomy, undergo cancer treatment, or have another health condition, menopause doesn’t just show up one day. Perimenopause precedes menopause, which brings warning signs that your reproductive days are coming to a close.
Do I Still Need STD Testing in a Committed Relationship?

Do I Still Need STD Testing in a Committed Relationship?

When you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship, you may think your days of testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are behind you. In an ideal world, they should be. But we don’t live that way. So, do you still test for STDs?
Positive Pregnancy Test — What Now?

Positive Pregnancy Test — What Now?

Your pregnancy test is positive! Congratulations! Whether you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a long time or it’s a surprise, now’s the time for excitement and preparation so that you have a happy and uneventful birth. Here’s what to do first.
 Your First Steps If You Go Into Labor Early

Your First Steps If You Go Into Labor Early

You’re past the point where you could deliver a preterm baby. But you’re not quite at your official due date, either. Still, you think you feel contractions. And then some more contractions. Are you in early labor? What should you do?
I'm Overweight — Can I Still Get Pregnant?

I'm Overweight — Can I Still Get Pregnant?

You know you should lose weight to reduce your risk of chronic diseases. But now you want to get pregnant and wonder if you should lose weight for the baby, too. Overweight and obesity negatively affects fertility and pregnancy. Here’s why.