The importance of professional high-risk pregnancy care in Katy, TX for women with preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a syndrome that if left untreated, it can be dangerous and potentially fatal for the mother or baby. With proper management and professional high-risk pregnancy care, most women who develop this condition have healthy babies. Located in Katy, TX, Dr. Jenkins, Dr. Torres, and Dr. Falae of Jenkins Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine provide comprehensive obstetric care for normal and high-risk pregnancies.
Having a high-risk pregnancy does not mean anything will go wrong or that the baby will not be healthy. It is a simple term to make sure the mother and baby are properly cared for throughout the pregnancy with more frequent appointments and testing. Patients who are at risk for or who have preeclampsia are considered high risk and must be monitored closely throughout the remainder of the pregnancy.
Formerly called toxemia, preeclampsia occurs only during pregnancy. The most common symptoms are high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Women often experience swelling in the feet, legs, and hands. High blood pressure does not automatically mean a patient has preeclampsia. It can be a sign of another problem. Preeclampsia affects approximately 5-8% of pregnancies. Although this syndrome is usually found late in pregnancy, it can occur earlier.
Preeclampsia is most commonly found in first-time pregnancies, in pregnant teenagers, or in women over the age of 40. However, other risk factors include the following:
- Previous cases of gestational hypertension or preeclampsia
- Immediate family members with preeclampsia
- Carrying multiple babies
- History of high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis
Symptoms and diagnosis
At each prenatal exam, your obstetrics team assesses your blood pressure and urine levels to check for high blood pressure or protein in the urine. Blood work may be ordered. If your physician suspects preeclampsia, other tests may be ordered. This includes tests to check kidney and blood-clotting functions, ultrasounds to check the baby’s growth and development, and a Doppler scan to measure blood flow to the placenta.
Although the exact causes of preeclampsia are unknown, contributing factors may include poor nutrition, high body fat, insufficient blood flow to the uterus, and genetics. Patients may have mild or severe cases of preeclampsia. Patients with mild preeclampsia may unaware until it is detected during the prenatal appointment by assessing high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Symptoms of severe preeclampsia include:
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to bright light
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen
If you experience blurred vision, severe headaches, abdominal pain, or infrequent urination, contact your obstetrician right away. Preeclampsia can also occur without any symptoms which is why it is important to receive quality prenatal care.
Professional high-risk pregnancy care for preeclampsia
If preeclampsia remains undiagnosed or untreated, it can lead to eclampsia. This is a serious condition that puts the mother and baby at risk. Although there is no cure other than delivery, understanding the risks and symptoms and getting diagnosed early can lessen the chances of long-term effects on the mother or baby.
This condition may prevent the placenta from receiving enough blood. If this occurs, the baby can be born prematurely or very small. The mother can be affected by preeclampsia as well. Mothers may experience strokes, seizures, liver bleeding, heart failure, or water in the lungs.
Delivery is the only cure for preeclampsia. The obstetrician will discuss the mother’s and baby’s health, the severity of the condition, and potential options. If a patient is close to her due date, usually 37 weeks pregnant or later, the physician may discuss or recommend inducing labor or scheduling a c-section. If the baby is not close to full term, the goal is to treat the preeclampsia until the baby can be safely delivered. For mothers who have mild cases of preeclampsia, recommendations may include bed rest, blood pressure medication, blood and urine tests, and frequent careful observations of the baby through a fetal heart rate monitor and ultrasound. The doctor will provide care and monitoring to ensure the health and safety of the mother and baby.
For any pregnancy, high-risk or not, the team at Jenkins Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine will work with you to ensure you have the appropriate care. Call 855 346 8610.