Preeclampsia: Know the prenatal symptoms



on here hello welcome to the google hangout with pregnancy magazine and preeclampsia org today we have a linear C is the executive director of the preeclampsia foundation she served in a variety of volunteer capacities for the organization including six years as on our board of directors and two as its chairman she's worked with many dedicated volunteers and staff members to really bring this to a nationally recognized resource for information research and support related to preeclampsia today we're going to be talking with eleni about the symptoms of preeclampsia in the post preeclampsia period so elini to start out what are some of the common symptoms of preeclampsia that our patients should be watching out for so Laney the interesting thing about preeclampsia symptoms is they're often referred to as nonspecific which means they aren't symptoms that only mean somebody has preeclampsia and that's one of the reasons we really need to make sure that patients are aware of what those symptoms are so today we're going to be looking at the seven most common symptoms and recognizing that all women don't necessarily experience these symptoms the same way so real quickly i'll do a quick run-through of them and then we can kind of back up and spend a little more time on them and i probably should back up and say you know when we talk about preeclampsia that's a mouthful most people maybe haven't heard the word it is obviously a life-threatening condition of pregnancy and the most common way that people know about it is because it is associated with high blood pressure in pregnancy but there are other symptoms swelling and interestingly this is not the swelling that almost every pregnant woman has in her feet and ankles this is more the swelling that might happen in her face and especially around her eyes and in her hands that kind of swelling is more concerning and that would cause really a woman should be seeing her care provider a doctor or Midwife if she's having that kind of swelling particularly if it's sudden and that often accompanies very rapid weight gain which is another indicator that something could be wrong so women who are gaining more than five pounds in a single week during pregnancy and especially in the latter half of pregnancy warning warning that shouldn't be happening so that's a good reason to go see a care provider headaches nausea visual disturbances these are three other common session say common indicators that something may be wrong I call I say common because you could have a headache just because it's been a stressful day you pop a couple tylenol and it goes away that's not a concern when you have a headache that's not going away with with acetaminophen or Tylenol that's a concern same thing with visual disturbances if you're seeing spots and auras and maybe losing your vision those are big indicators that there may be pressure in your brain that's affecting your vision and that's very much tied to preeclampsia nausea so every woman almost every woman gets nauseous in the first half of her pregnancy what we typically call morning sickness if it's happening in the second half of her pregnancy that's not a good thing a lot of times a physician or Midwife might suspect that she's got the flu or maybe gallbladder problems but that really shouldn't be the first thing they think about if you've got nausea vomiting you really should be evaluated for possible for preeclampsia possibly so another one is what's sometimes called epigastric pain and that's a very medical term that basically means upper-right belly pain the interesting thing about epigastric pain or sometimes it's called upper right quadrant pain is many women experience this very differently in fact of all the symptoms this is one of the ones that is that presents the most different amongst different women so some women will complain about pain in their neck some will complain about back pain some will have pain radiant radiating up and down their arms we've had had some women described this epigastric pain as feeling like heartburn any of those are again not necessarily indicators of preeclampsia but there are reasons that you should be getting to a healthcare provider and being evaluated for possibly having preeclampsia or a variant of it called hellp syndrome and that's especially relevant with epigastric pain because the reason most women have that pain is because their liver has been affected so once you start having that liver damage that's usually an indication of help syndrome which is very dangerous another symptom is really a shortness of breath and I mean this is not just like oh I just climbed a flight of steps and I'm huffing and puffing which you can do even if you're not pregnant but if you are really gasping for breath if you're really feeling like you're panting and not getting oxygen that again is not a good sign you definitely want to go be evaluated it may be an indication of something happening in your lungs like them filling up with fluid or some other things that could be indicators of preeclampsia so those are the most common symptoms now the last one that I always want to mention is one that you can't just put a label on but it's the I'm just not feeling right symptom and it's amazing how many women who look back on their preeclamptic sperience and say I just knew something wasn't wrong wasn't right I just knew I wasn't feeling right and I couldn't describe it I was feeling anxious I had a feeling of like impending doom um all of those have turned out to really be what i call the maternal sixth sense where we know our bodies and we know when something isn't quite right and I guess though what I would say with that is don't brush it off pay attention to that voice and get to healthcare have your blood pressure checked see you know have them evaluate you may need to have blood drawn to see what's going on with your liver enzymes but it's worth following up to make sure that that feeling that you have isn't actually something more significant so as a pre eclampsia survivor your cell can you talk just a little bit about what happens if preeclampsia or a clam see or hellp syndrome goes untreated and women may not recognize the symptoms and may not get to care when they need to so the worst thing that can happen is to not have it diagnosed and have it continue I mean preeclampsia is it's a spectrum disorder which me basically means that if it keeps going it's going to get worse it does not reverse itself until you've delivered the baby and that reversal process might take a while so even after delivery it's still a little bit of a dangerous period it's like any it's on it's like what I would say almost any medical situation and that is when it's not diagnosed it's going to get worse and worse and literally be life threatening to mom and her baby and that's one of the reasons that we feel so passionate about making sure that women are where signs and symptoms they may be having and then if they get to care on time which we hope they will that their care providers are also doing due diligence and evaluating them properly and looking for could this be preeclampsia because the cost of missing that diagnosis is terrible and I know I've had preeclampsia twice I talked to hundreds and hundreds of women who have had it and the most infuriating what i would call almost the senseless tragedies are when we could have done something about it but we just didn't get to care soon enough all right well thank you for that rundown of symptoms and what women should do can you please give us just a quick rundown of the 7 symptoms we want women to be aware of and we'll wrap up for today absolutely so the things that women want to be aware of are swelling in the hands or face weight gain of five pounds or more in a week headaches that won't go away very easily changes in vision nausea or vomiting upper right belly pain and difficulty breathing or gasping those are the seven most common symptoms and further information about all of this as you know can be found at preeclampsia org it's a wonderful website with an enormous amount of information not only about these signs and symptoms but all kinds of related issues thank you thank you

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