What is preeclampsia?
Of all the periods in the lifecycle, pregnancy is the most critical and unique period in women’s life. During the gestation period, the mother and the child share an intimate and inseparable relationship. The physical and mental condition that the mother has during and before pregnancy can affect the fetus in the utero and at birth. It is through the mother’s efforts that her infant will be born healthy.
During pregnancy there can be certain complications that can affect the health of the mother and the growing fetus.
One of these complications that can affect the mother is preeclampsia. It is one of the types of pregnancy induced hypertension. Preeclampsia is a syndrome complex characterized by development of hypertension to the extent of 140/90 mm Hg or more with edema or proteinuria or both caused by pregnancy after the 20th week. It is also a variant of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension associated with edema and/ or proteinuria. Preeclampsia in pregnancy may appear as a primary disorder or may complicate certain preexisting pathology like hypertension or nephritis.
Symptoms of Preeclampsia
- A rise in systolic pressure of at least 30 mm Hg or a rise in diastolic pressure of at least 15 mm Hg over the previously known blood pressure or an absolute rise of pressure of 140 mm Hg or 90 mm Hg , if the previous blood pressure is not known. This rise should be evident on two occasions, 6 or more hours apart.
- Demonstration of pitting edema over the ankles after 12 hours of bed rest or rapid gain in weight of more than 1lb a week or more than 5 lb a month in the later months of pregnancy.
- Presence of protein in 24 hours urine of more than 0.3 Gms per liter or more than 1 gm per liter in 2 or more specimens obtained 6 hours apart of urine in the absence of urinary tract infection.
- There may be blurring or diminished vision or at times complete blindness. Vision is usually regained within 4 to 6 weeks after delivery.
- Stomach pain also called as epigastric pain in medical terms is associated with vomiting, at times coffee color.
- Disturbed sleep.
- Headache occurs over the occipital and frontal region.
- Diminished urine output of less than 500 ml in 24 hours.
Causes of Preeclampsia
- Pregnancy before 20 years of age and after 35 years of age.
- Neglect in antenatal care in poor and underprivileged sectors.
- Pregnancy complications like multiple pregnancy, Rh incompatibility, and hydramnios.
- Medical disorders like hypertension, nephritis, diabetes.
Home remedies for preeclampsia
- Drink tea prepared with celery leaves daily.
- Cut a slice of raw beetroot, squeeze lime juice over it and refrigerate it overnight. Have one slice everyday.
- Eat 2 cloves of fresh garlic everyday.
- Drink tea made of red raspberry leaves, nettle and dandelion leaves throughout the pregnancy.
Diet for preeclampsia
- Adequate rest is advised for at least extra 2 hours in the afternoon from the 20th week of pregnancy.
- A well balanced diet along with a good quality of protein is beneficial.
- Salt need not be totally restricted. Omission of salty foods or avoiding addition of extra salt in the dish is enough. Restriction of fluids is not required.
- Increase the level of potassium in the body. It will help in relieving the symptoms of preeclampsia. Have potassium rich foods like banana, potato peels, mint, chicory and dandelion leaves as potassium is anti hypertensive and thus beneficial against pregnancy preeclamsia.
- Calcium rich foods like milk, leafy vegetables, finger millet can be effective.
- Other suggestions for preeclampsia
- Regular antenatal check up is necessary from the beginning of pregnancy to detect the complications at the earliest. Fetal risk like intrauterine death, prematurity, asphyxia is also involved with preeclampsia in pregnancy. Thus if the symptoms of preeclampsia do not wane off, it is necessary to consult the gynecologist.