Postpartum Preeclampsia is a rare and serious condition that occurs in mothers who have given birth recently. It generally develops around 48 hours after childbirth. This condition needs immediate clinical attention and treatment to avoid complications.
About postpartum preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a dangerous pregnancy complication that may occur in women who are pregnant or have recently given birth. It’s characterized by high levels of blood pressure and increased levels of protein in the urine.
Postpartum preeclampsia is preeclampsia that occurs after childbirth. This condition generally develops after a few hours of giving birth but may even develop 6 weeks after childbirth.
It is an extremely severe condition and needs immediate treatment. If left untreated, the condition may prove fatal for the mother.
What are the symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia?
It is possible that you may not notice the symptoms of preeclampsia during pregnancy. However, if you do develop this condition, be careful to watch out for the following symptoms:
- Constant headache
- Swelling in the legs, face, or hands
- Sudden weight gain
- Temporary loss of vision
- Blurry vision or increased sensitivity to light
- Upper abdominal pain
- Decreased urination
- Protein in urine
What are the causes of postpartum preeclampsia?
Doctors have yet not identified the real cause behind preeclampsia. Some of the potential causes include
- Genetic factors: If your mother or sister suffered from postpartum preeclampsia or has high blood pressure, you may also suffer from it.
- Blood vessel problems: Having weak or narrowed blood vessels may lead to this condition after delivery.
- Being overweight or obese
- Being pregnant with multiple babies, like twins or triplets
- Suffering from high blood pressure before pregnancy
- Having Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes
- Being pregnant in your early teens or over the age of 35
- Suffering from autoimmune conditions like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
When to see a doctor?
If you suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure before pregnancy, make sure you inform your gynecologist regarding your condition. If you see any of the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia shortly after childbirth, visit your doctor immediately.
What are the treatment options available for postpartum preeclampsia?
The treatment options available for managing postpartum preeclampsia are as follows:
- Medications: If you suffer from high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe you an antihypertensive medication to lower your blood pressure.
- Magnesium sulfate: If you develop seizures and show severe symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia, your doctor may also prescribe magnesium sulfate. Magnesium sulfate may help prevent seizures and is generally taken for up to 24 hours.
What are the complications of postpartum preeclampsia?
The complications of postpartum preeclampsia are as follows:
- Permanently damage vital organs like your eyes, brain, kidneys and liver.
- Excess fluid retention in the lungs
- Brain stroke
- Blood clots or blockage of blood vessels
- Bleeding from gums or nose
- HELLP syndrome: It stands for the destruction of red blood cells (hemolysis), elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count — can rapidly become life-threatening.
Postpartum preeclampsia is a very serious condition. However, with proper care, the symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia can be managed. Consult your doctor when you get pregnant to reduce your risk of developing this condition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can postpartum preeclampsia be prevented?
Regular antenatal would help diagnoses and prevent preeclampsia. Eating a nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle may also help prevent this condition.
What is considered severe preeclampsia?
A systolic blood pressure of 160-mm Hg and a diastolic pressure of 110 mm Hg are considered severe preeclampsia.
Is it safe to breastfeed my baby with postpartum preeclampsia?
Yes, it’s safe to breastfeed your baby while taking the medications for this disease. But, make sure you consult your doctor before breastfeeding if you suffer from severe preeclampsia.