The cause lies in a disorder of the placenta, which is still not fully understood in detail and which already begins at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy. Symptoms usually appear after 20-24 weeks, often towards the end of pregnancy. Subjectively, the condition manifests as severe unusual headaches, visual disturbances, general malaise or vomiting, extremely rapid water retention, and severe upper abdominal pain.
Preeclampsia: symptoms are variable
Symptoms are highly variable and may be absent in individual cases. Medically, the disease is characterized by markedly elevated blood pressure, the occurrence of protein loss through the urine and, in pronounced cases, clotting disorders, cerebral and hepatic hemorrhage, renal failure, and even multiple organ failure and epilepsy-like convulsions (eclampsia).
Preeclampsia: risk factors, prevention
Women who have had preeclampsia before, those over 35 years of age, diabetics, women with a history of high blood pressure or significant obesity, women with multiples, and women with inadequate kidney function or immune disease are at significantly higher risk. We recommend preeclampsia prophylaxis with aspirin 150mg from early pregnancy.
However, preeclampsia can occur in any woman, although the risk is lower. That is why we measure blood pressure and check urine at every pregnancy check. You should additionally pay attention to the symptoms mentioned above and contact us immediately if necessary.
Diagnosis of preeclampsia
Checking blood pressure and testing urine for protein content are mandatory at every pregnancy check. These checks are much more important than frequently performed ultrasound examinations. If there is any suspicion, blood tests (for example, platelets, liver enzymes, kidney function values, and blood clotting values) are performed, as well as ultrasound examinations and a blood flow measurement of the child and the placenta (doppler ultrasound). In this way, the diagnosis can be made with certainty and potential dangers can be assessed.
Treatment for pregnancy poisoning
In most cases, rest and relief are sufficient if diagnosed in time. If the condition does not improve, hospital treatment may be required. Since the disease ends by termination of pregnancy, in severe cases careful consideration must be given to whether the child should be delivered prematurely. In the case of premature births, these decisions are always made in consultation with the parents and with the involvement of neonatology.
In the first few days after birth, the mother continues to be monitored, as blood pressure and the risk of seizures are slow to return. There is practically never any permanent damage to the mother. Possible complications could include bleeding due to high pressure, kidney damage, or eye damage. In severe preeclampsia, the mother’s eyes, kidneys, and blood pressure are reexamined approximately 6-8 weeks after birth.