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Pre-Eclampsia is a medical condition that occurs during Pregnancy that is potentially harmful. It can occur when Hypertension (elevated blood pressure) elevates unexpectedly and can continue to raise throughout the pregnancy.

Additionally, protein in large amounts, needs to be seen in the urine. It is important to understand that this is  seen in conjunction with elevated blood pressure and can help the diagnosis process.

Pre-Eclampsia can be seen as early as 20 weeks but “early” is considered prior to 32 weeks. The occurrence of elevated blood pressure and other symptoms may continue up to and including 6 weeks after delivery.

Typically, but not always, the worse the prognosis occurs the sooner the symptoms begin. Diagnosis typically arises after blood pressure has been elevated for some time.

Almost 10% of all pregnancies may result in this condition.

**** – Remember – it is not pre-eclampsia if only your blood pressure is elevated – otherwise it is known as gestational hypertension.

preeclampsia_model

Symptoms/Findings

–  Elevated blood pressure
–  Protein in urine
–  Damage to endothelium
–  Kidney problems
–  Liver damage
–  Swelling
–  Edema
–  Abdominal pain

Causes

–  Problematic placement of placenta –  theory
–  Immune concern or rejection of placenta –  theory
–  Dietary Factors – theory
–  Genetic Factors – theory

Increased risk when also having the following:

–  Diabetes
–  Hypertension
–  Obese women
–  When having twins or more

* Vitamin D deficiency early in pregnancy is associated with a five-fold increased risk of pre-eclampsia, according to a Pitt study reported in September of 2007 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.  

Diagnosis

–  When blood pressure is above 140/90 and when over 300 mg of protein in a 24 hr sample
–  Elevation of bp of 30 points in systolic and/or 15 points of diastolic – may be something to watch.

Complications

–  Eclampsia
–  Cerebral hemorrhage
–  HELLP syndrome

Treatment

1.)  Delivery of child by induction or C-section

2.)  Magnesium sulfate – is a medicine used also in eclampsia to prevent seizures

Still waiting for further information on treatment benefit

  –  Aspirin  –  not adequately studied at this point
  –  Dietary  –  No known benefit at this time
  –  Exercise – No known benefit at this time
  –  Bedrest –  may be common in some case but insufficient number of studies have been done

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