Pre-eclampsia And Eclampsia
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Preeclampsia (toxemia) and eclampsia are conditions that can develop during week 20 or later of your pregnancy. With preeclampsia, you have high blood pressure and protein in your urine. Preeclampsia progresses to eclampsia if you have a seizure. This does not include women with a known seizure disorder. These conditions can create mild to life-threatening health problems for you and your unborn baby.
- Blood pressure medicine: This medicine helps lower your blood pressure and protects your heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys. Take your blood pressure medicine exactly as directed.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your obstetrician as directed:
You will need tests 1 to 2 times a week to check your condition. Tests include blood pressure checks, urine and blood tests, and fetal monitoring. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Your obstetrician may tell you to rest more often if you have mild symptoms of preeclampsia. You may need total bedrest if you have more severe symptoms. Try to lie on your left side.
You may need to keep track of how often your baby moves or kicks over a certain amount of time. Ask your obstetrician how to do kick counts and how often to do them.
Weigh yourself daily before breakfast. Weight gain can be a sign of extra fluid in your body. Call your obstetrician if you have gained 2 or more pounds in a week.
Blood pressure checks:
You may need to check your blood pressure each day. Your obstetrician will teach you how to check your blood pressure at home. Measure your blood pressure on the same arm and in the same position each time. Write down the date and time you take your blood pressure, and bring your notes to your prenatal visits.
Seizure first aid:
You may have seizures with eclampsia. You may feel confused, tense, or aggressive when the seizure ends. Tell your family, friends, or coworkers to do the following if you have a seizure:
- Clear the area to help prevent injuries from falls
- Place you on your left side so you do not choke
- Give oxygen if it is available
- Call 911
- Stay with you until medical help arrives
Contact your obstetrician if:
- You see new or increased swelling in your face or hands.
- You are urinating less than usual.
- You have new or increased vision changes, such as blurred or spotted vision.
- You do not feel your baby's movement as often as usual.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You develop a severe headache that does not go away.
- You have severe abdominal pain with nausea and vomiting.
- You are urinating very little or not at all.
- You have a seizure.
- You are bleeding from your vagina.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.