The human body experiences a huge number of physiological changes during pregnancy, which can result in serious complications for the mother and baby alike. Some pregnancy-related complications can occur quickly and without noticeable symptoms. Therefore, it is the responsibility of obstetricians and attending medical professionals to actively monitor the progression of their patients’ pregnancies in order to identify and prevent serious conditions like preeclampsia.
The Mayo Clinic discusses preeclampsia, and describes the condition as a pregnancy complication that is characterized as signs of high blood pressure and damage to other organ systems in the mother. The onset of preeclampsia generally occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and often occurs in women with no history of high blood pressure.
The seriousness of preeclampsia is compounded by the fact that symptoms can be subtle or lacking altogether. In many cases, however, the onset of preeclampsia is associated with the slow or sudden development of high blood pressure in the mother. Other symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Excess protein in the urine
- Changes in vision
- Upper abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
The onset of preeclampsia can result in serious risks for both the mother and baby. The effect that the condition can have on placental arteries can prevent the baby from receiving adequate oxygen and nutrients. Preeclampsia can also cause other serious complications like eclampsia, HELLP syndrome and placental abruption.
Such complications require immediate medical intervention, and often lead to emergency delivery by way of cesarean section. Therefore, the effective diagnosis and monitoring of pregnancy-related conditions like preeclampsia is crucial to preventing serious and potentially fatal injuries to mothers and babies.