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Surviving Preeclampsia

Updated on January 29, 2013

What is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a fancy word for hypertension during pregnancy. Doctors get concerned when an expecting mother's blood pressure readings, top number is over 140 and the bottom number is more than 80. Sure it is natural for the heart to have extra stress, being that it has to support the woman and the fetus. However, high blood pressure is not a good sign and can cause serious problems. The mother can develop seizures and the baby can experience premature birth or death. Once preeclampsia is detected, usually after 20 weeks, doctors look for protien in the woman's urine. Doctors will hospitalize a patient if the blood pressure gets out of control, they will also prescribe medication that helps slow the blood flow down.

Daily blood pressure readings are very important if you suffer with hypertension during pregnancy.
Daily blood pressure readings are very important if you suffer with hypertension during pregnancy.

My Experience

It was during my first pregnancy, I was about 7 months. I felt extra hot and I was sweating and dizzy quite often. I thought maybe it was time for me to stop working, I did not know that it was a serious problem. Then one day while visiting the doctor routinely. The nurse became alarmed when taking my blood pressure. She retook it about 5 times, making me lay down on my side. My pressure was reading 150 something over 80 something. My pressure did not change much. The doctor sent me to the hospital so the baby could be closely monitored and so that they could gauge my protein levels. I was in the hospital a whole week before they let me go home. They put me on medication to keep the pressure down. I quit working and found myself on bed rest. I believe that the amount of stress I was under during that period in my life caused the hypertension to develop. Because my father has hypertension doctors say that it was only a matter of time before mine would come out, and that my pregnancy induced it. I disagree. I feel that had I managed my stress better I would have been fine. I could be wrong?

Since that time I have had two more pregnancies. Immediately after my first I continued to suffer with hypertension. My cardiologist said that diet and exercise would help me get it under control. I continue taking medication until my second child was 10 months. At that time my pressure started to get to a normal range, taking the medicine unnecessarily caused headaches. Doctors say if your reading is 60/100 or lower stop medications.

Although I no longer need medication, my life is still impacted by this experience. I still check my pressure routinely. Given my history,a recent, third pregnancy still had to be treated as a high risk pregnancy. I had to do 24 hour urine tests, take a baby aspirin, schedule stress test at the hospital, and keep a blood pressure readings log. This pregnancy I was determine to worry as less as possible. I drunk more water(which is said to reduce high blood pressure). At no time did preeclampsia reappear. However, because it lasted so long after my first pregnancy I will always be considered to have chronic hypertension. For this reason, I always have to think of it as a factor that can potentially affect my health.

Summary of things to expect if diagnosed

  • medication(calcium blocker that will help the blood flow slower) and a baby aspirin up to a certain time ( not at the last 5 weeks)
  • possible hospitalization
  • induced labor and early delivery, the doctor will try to wait as long as possible(I made it to 27 weeks)
  • several stress test where a monitor will check the babies heart rate and movements for hours at a time
  • being asked for 24 hour urine samples to check for protein levels which gives a doctor a sign of trouble or problems with hypertension
  • Doctor might ask you to keep a log of what you are eating, warning you also not to eat greasy foods, but to eat fruits and vegetables. Also you will be asked how much water are you drinking.
  • The doctor will also want to see how your blood pressure readings are at home. They might increase or decrease your medication based on your readings.
  • You have to also eliminate stress and make sure to have a support unit.
  • Plenty of rest


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      jen 2 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your story!

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