When a woman finds out that she is pregnant she usually dreams about a perfect pregnancy, with a perfect delivery, and a healthy baby that gets to come home with you after a Twenty-four hour hospital stay, but unfortunately it does not always turn out that way. Pre-eclampsia is a disorder in a pregnant woman who develops high blood pressure and protein in the urine after 20 weeks gestation. Pre-eclampsia is very dangerous and can change rapidly into life threatening disorders such as eclampsia, and HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count) syndrome. Cause
Pre-eclampsia is said to be linked to “A causal or pathogenetic model of superficial placentation driven by immune maladaptation, with subsequently reduced concentrations of angiogenic growth factors and increased placental debris in the maternal circulation resulting in a (mainly hypertensive) maternal inflammatory response” (Sibai, 2005 pg.1). This essentially means that the placenta is not implanted deep enough into the uterus. Some doctors are skeptical of this and say that the cause of pre-eclampsia has not been discovered as of yet. There are a few risk factors that can lead to a mother having pre-eclampsia such as a preexisting heart condition, multi-fetal pregnancy, diabetes, obesity, and having had pre-eclampsia with prior pregnancies. Some doctors encourage overweight women to lose weight before getting pregnant to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia or other complications. Diagnosis
Pre-eclampsia is diagnosed based on hypertension (blood pressure reading above 140/90) on two occasions over 6 hours apart in a women over twenty weeks gestation, a twenty four hour urine of 300 or higher, abnormal liver enzymes, epigastric pain with nausea or vomiting, and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count). The patient does not have to have all of these to be diagnosed, but at least two. Having excess swelling in the legs and face used to be part of a diagnosis for...
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Sibai, B., Dekker, G., & Kupferminc, M. (2005). Pre-eclampsia. The Lancet, 365(9461), 785-99.
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