Preeclampsia: How It Is Diagnosed And Treated In Pregnancy

Health & Medical Articles

The first decision you must make after discovering you are pregnant is what type of doctor you will choose. You could choose an OB-GYN or a midwife and both types can assist you through your pregnancy. You will visit this healthcare professional many times during your pregnancy, and there are numerous things that will be completed at each of your appointments. One of these things is a urine test, which is often used to detect problems such as preeclampsia.

What Is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition that occurs during pregnancy to approximately 3% to 5% of women. This condition is the start of eclampsia, which can cause you to have seizures and can cause the baby to have health problems. When a healthcare provider detects the signs of preeclampsia, he or she will usually perform further tests and may send you to the hospital.

Your healthcare provider might keep a close eye on you during your pregnancy if he or she suspects that you are at a high risk of developing this condition. Some of the factors that can put you at a higher risk include:

  • Your age – Girls in their teens and women over 40 years old are at a higher risk of developing preeclampsia.
  • Multiple baby pregnancy – If you are carrying more than one baby, you may also be considered high-risk for this.
  • Health – Any existing health problems can also lead to developing this condition. This includes a history of diabetes and kidney disease.

Having high blood pressure and a lot of swelling during your pregnancy are two common symptoms of preeclampsia. If you have these symptoms, your doctor or midwife will carefully monitor your health, especially during the third trimester because this is when preeclampsia primarily occurs.

When you visit your healthcare provider each month, you will be asked to fill a cup with urine. This urine sample will most likely be tested right at the office, and there are several things it tests for.

How Does a Urine Test Detect This?

Your urine will be tested for several things, including:

  • Sugar – Having an elevated level of sugar in your urine is not a sign of preeclampsia, but it is a common sign of gestational diabetes. Approximately 10% to 30% of women with gestational diabetes will end up developing preeclampsia.
  • Protein – Your midwife will probably pay close attention to your protein level in your urine because an elevated level is a sure sign of preeclampsia. This is especially true if it is paired up with high blood pressure.
  • Bacteria – Your urine is also tested for bacteria levels, which can indicate infections in your body. Certain types of infections, including kidney infections, can lead to preeclampsia, and this is why the bacteria level is checked each month when you visit your doctor or midwife.

What Happens If You Have This Condition?

If your healthcare provider diagnoses your condition as preeclampsia, you will probably be rushed to the hospital. If you are seeing a midwife, she may transfer you to the care of an OB-GYN because most midwives are not qualified to help with high-risk pregnancy issues.

While you are at the hospital, the nurses will keep an eye on your blood pressure and may take blood tests to watch your protein levels. It is also likely that they will give you an IV that contains magnesium, which is a medication that helps control seizures, and it is often used for women that have preeclampsia.

From that point, there are two different options your doctor will consider taking. The first is performing a Cesarean (C-section). This is the fastest way to deliver a baby, and this method will be used if the doctor believes that you or the baby or in danger.

The other option considered in this situation is an induction. An induction is a process used to force the labor to begin, and it often involves the use of a medication known as Pitocin. Once you begin receiving this medication through an IV, your labor will begin and you will have the baby within a day or two.

If you are pregnant, it is very important to go to all your appointments. These appointments are used to monitor your health during this time, and this will be the only way to avoid and detect complications with your pregnancy.

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29 January 2015

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