Pre-eclampsia, what you should know!

Toxemia of Pregnancy!!!!!!!

Say What

The above is SUPER old school! Toxemia is what we used to call pre-eclampsia.

Even after 10 years of being in private practice….Pre-eclampsia STILL makes me go HMMMMMMMMM!

Pre-eclampsia is an entity that can ONLY be diagnosed after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is high blood pressure PLUS a certain amount of protein in your urine……if we MUST be technical about it….and I do recognize that there are A LOT of techies out there, high blood pressure is diagnosed when you have a systolic blood pressure(the top number) greater than or equal to 140 and/or a diastolic blood pressure(the bottom number) greater than or equal to 90. Got that?!? Both numbers DON’T have to be elevated. Just one or the other. This is in conjunction with proteinuria, or having a certain amount of protein in your urine….300mg obtained by way of a 24 hour urine collection OR a urine dip of 1+ protein is diagnostic. This is just the BASIS of the diagnosis.

The deal with pre-eclampsia is that it can affect other organs such as renal, GI(gastrointestinal), and neurological systems. IF THESE other systems become involved, the diagnosis goes from BASIC pre-eclampsia(I’m not sure if there even IS a basic pre-eclampsia as IT’S serious regardless)to SEVERE pre-eclampsia!

We are able to diagnose you as being “SEVERE” via laboratory evaluation OR the development of certain symptoms such as headaches that don’t/won’t go away with minimal intervention such as tylenol; heartburn that won’t abate with minor measures such as tums; RUQ(right upper quadrant)pain that is not relieved with positional changes, is not gas related, etc; visual changes such as blurry vision or seeing spots that ARE NOT the result of staring into a bright light; abnormal lab work such as low platelets, elevated liver function tests, abnormal renal tests, especially an elevated creatinine……ALL THESE are examples of things that you might experience if you have SEVERE pre-eclampsia.

The treatment for pre-eclampsia is DELIVERY, but depending on how far along you are in the pregnancy, this can prove to be tricky, and the risks and benefits of conservative management versus delivering a preterm baby have to be weighed.

I HATE PRE-ECLAMPSIA! Even after ALL these years, no one really knows what even causes it……most hypothesize that it’s placental in origin!

IT can be a real MOTHER*&%$#! Sometimes random or even atypical in its presentation, at times pre-eclampsia can be a tricky diagnosis to make. Not to mention the magnesium sulfate that is oft times thrown on board as part of treatment to prevent seizures(ECLAMPSIA)…….you won’t like the warm and not so fuzzy feeling you get from this!

Risk factors include things such as: being a first time mom, the extremes of age(teen vs advanced maternal age(the over 35 crowd)); any of the autoimmune disorders(lupus for example), diabetes, multiple gestations, obesity, renal disease, previous affected pregnancy, different paternity from previous children;i.e, a different babies daddy… name a few. Some people may even decide to look into something like this Lansing DNA paternity testing service if they have had multiple children from different fathers. This is common and can give you a clearer idea about whether you’re at risk of these factors during pregnancy. It can also be beneficial if you’re not 100% sure about who the father of your baby is, and this could be an important piece of information to find out before the child has been born.

NOT to fear…..there is an ENTIRE arsenal of weaponry; a.k.a., treatment options, to combat this monster! Whether it’s controlling elevated blood pressures with various medications, to initiating all sorts of antepartum testing to ensure that you and baby are “ok”; we’ve GOT YOU covered!

Hoping this blog post adds value to your day!

Until next time,

Look Better. Feel Better. Be Better.

Dr. Angela



About Dr. Angela

Wife, mother, Midwesterner, and award-winning OB/GYN, Dr. Angela is equal parts best girlfriend and bold professional, supporting women’s health with innovative approaches to care and heavy doses of humor. Dr. Angela has done more than launch a successful practice, she has defined herself as a voice for a new generation of womanhood, established her ASK DR. ANGELA brand committed to authenticity, and built a community rooted in trust, candor, and compassion.

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