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Gaining weight at a rapid rate, headaches,upper high blood pressure, upper abdomen pain during pregnancy?

Updated on June 20, 2012

Preeclampsia, also known as toxemia, is a relatively common disorder affecting pregnant women. Usually occuring after the 20th week, preeclampsia is a precursor to a disorder known as eclampsia, which can cause pregnant women with no previous history of epilepsy, to begin having seizures, putting her health and the health of her unborn child at serious risk.

It is important to detect preeclampsia before it develops into something more serious. Signs of preeclampsia are high blood pressure, headaches, pain in the upper abdomen, and rapid weight gain. While some weight gain is normal during pregnancy, caution should be used when the mother begins consistenly gaining more than two pounds a week after her 20th week of gestation. Also, while swelling is to be expected, extreme swelling in the hands and face can be signs of the disorder.

Your doctor should test your urine every time you go in for a visit during your pregnancy. This is done to test for protein in the urine. This can indicate preeclampsia. Consistenly having high blood pressure during visits can also raise red flags and may cause your doctor to order further testing.

There is no actual cure for preeclampsia (toxemia) besides delivering the baby. In most cases, the mother will return to normal soon after delivery. This can be a sticky situation due to the fact that not all babies are actually mature enough to be born, but at the same time, are no longer safe remaining in the mother. Your doctor will most likely want to an amniocentesis to determine if the baby's lungs are mature enough to be delivered. If delivery would be too risky, bedrest while laying on one's side can also be done to slow the effects of preeclampsia.

Toxemia (preeclampsia) is more common in teenage mothers and mother over the age of 35. The risk of developing toxemia in subsequent pregnancies is high if the toxemia reached severe levels during a previous pregnancy.


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