Preeclampsia is a serious hypertensive condition that can have detrimental effects on both the mother and the baby. It can lead to preterm delivery or death if left untreated. The condition is believed to originate in the placenta, the organ responsible for providing oxygen and nutrients to the developing foetus.
Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure in a pregnant woman after her 20th week of pregnancy. Other symptoms may include liver or kidney damage, protein in the urine, and signs of organ damage. It poses significant risks to both the mother and the baby if not properly managed.
Impact on Foetuses and Newborn Babies
When a woman has preeclampsia, the placenta does not receive adequate blood supply, resulting in insufficient blood, oxygen, and nutrients reaching the foetus. This can lead to a condition called foetal growth restriction, where the foetus does not gain enough weight during the gestational period. In severe cases, there may be a need to terminate the pregnancy to protect the mother’s life or if the foetus is experiencing growth restriction.
Complications and Risks
Preeclampsia can have various complications and risks for both the baby and the mother. Preterm delivery and stillbirth are among the potential outcomes. Babies born prematurely are at an increased risk of long-term health issues, such as learning disorders, epilepsy, vision or hearing problems, and cerebral palsy. The mother may experience placental disruption, heavy bleeding, or develop a severe form of preeclampsia known as HELLP syndrome, which can be life-threatening to both the mother and the baby.
Importance of Awareness
World Preeclampsia Day, observed annually on May 22, aims to raise awareness about this severe pregnancy complication. The theme for this year’s World Preeclampsia Day is “Act Early! Screen Early!” It emphasizes the importance of early detection and timely intervention to minimize the risks associated with preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a critical health concern that demands attention and proactive measures to protect the well-being of both mothers and their babies.
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