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, Drs Jenkins, Roy, Ramirez or Ikwuagwu 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:
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:
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.
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.
We offer general care, gynecology, and obstetrics services that span all stages of a woman's life. Dr. Taryll L. Jenkins, MD received his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University and Doctorate of Medicine from Meharry Medical College School of Medicine, TN. He completed his residency training at the University of Texas and Hermann Hospital, TX and is Board-certified from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, with years of research experience.
Having graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Chemistry in 2011, Dr. Stephanie Roy received her Doctor of Medicine Degree in 2015 from the University of Texas Medical Branch. Today she is a leading Board-certified physician who works hard to provide you and your family with high quality services. In addition to spending time at the practice, Dr. Roy possesses extensive volunteer experience in the community. She was also a tutor at the Medical Careers Diversity Program in 2012 and since then has spent her free time volunteering for the St. Vincent’s Clinic.
Dr. Tiffany Ikwuagwu is passionate about caring for the diverse communities in Katy and Houston, TX. Having completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Houston, her medical degree at the Baylor College of Medicine, and her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the McGovern Medical School, she worked as principal investigator on a research project with Dr. Nana Ankumah at UT Houston. A member of the American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dr. Ikwuagwu has served in several leadership roles and has made many contributions to the community.
Yara Ramirez, MD earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University and her doctorate in medicine from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston where she also completed her residency. She won the Resident Teaching Award from UTMB’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for two consecutive years.
Dr. Ramirez has researched extensively on many obstetrics-related topics. She has been a Junior Fellow Representative for the UTMB Residency Program and a Medical Student Education Committee Member at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has volunteered for various local and foreign community programs. Her fluency in Spanish and French is an asset to her organization.
Nadia Alexander is a Board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a Master’s of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center. With seven years of experience in women’s health and a focus on obstetrics and ambulatory gynecology (vaginitis, UTI, and vaginal bleeding), she provides quality, compassionate care to patients in various stages of reproductive life. She is fluent in English and Spanish and is the lead contact for our Telehealth service.