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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Preeclampsia is high blood pressure (130/80 or higher) that develops after week 20 of your pregnancy. You may also have protein in your urine. Normal blood pressure is 119/79 or lower. It is important to get screened and treated for high blood pressure during pregnancy. This can prevent problems for you and your baby.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You have a seizure.
- You have severe abdominal pain with nausea and vomiting.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You develop a severe headache that does not go away.
- You have blurred or spotted vision that does not go away.
- You are bleeding from your vagina.
- You have new or increased swelling in your face or hands.
- You are urinating little or not at all.
Contact your obstetrician if:
- You are urinating less than usual.
- You do not feel your baby's movement as often as usual.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Blood pressure medicine helps lower your blood pressure and protects your heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys. Take your blood pressure medicine exactly as directed.
- Low doses of aspirin may be recommended after 12 weeks of pregnancy if you are at high risk for preeclampsia. Aspirin may help prevent preeclampsia or problems that can happen from preeclampsia. Do not take aspirin unless directed by your healthcare provider.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her 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.
Steps to take if you have a seizure:
You may have seizures if you develop 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
Blood pressure (BP) checks:
You may need to check your BP each day. Sit and rest for 5 minutes before you take your BP. Extend your arm and support it on a flat surface. Your arm should be at the same level as your heart. Follow the directions that came with your BP monitor. Take your BP at least 2 times each day. Choose the same times each day, such as morning and evening. Take at least 2 BP readings each time. Keep a record of your BP readings and bring it to your follow-up visits. Ask your healthcare provider what your BP should be.
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.
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.
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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.