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The Danger of Preeclampsia

Why Is Preeclampsia Dangerous?

Preeclampsia is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality, particularly in the Black community.   Preeclampsia is a pregnancy induced condition that can begin as early as 20 weeks gestation.  Science is still seeking both causes and solutions to preeclampsia.

“Preeclampsia and eclampsia are part of the spectrum of high blood pressure, or hypertensive, disorders that can occur during pregnancy’” (https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preeclampsia/conditioninfo).

Prenatal Care A Must

Prenatal care is needed to detect preeclampsia because some symptoms are not detected without use of special equipment.   For decades high blood pressure has been called the “silent killer’ because it is without symptoms until a person has their blood pressure read, or worse, they have a stroke.

Birth workers, doulas, partners, and family members should insist their pregnant love-ones register early for prenatal care and make all their appointments.  This is the best way to detect high blood pressure early in the pregnancy.

Learn Preeclampsia Symptoms

Preeclampsia symptoms are:

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Proteinuria
Swelling (Edema)
Headache
Nausea or Vomiting
Abdominal (stomach area) and/or Shoulder Pain
Lower back pain
Sudden Weight Gain
Changes in Vision
Hyperreflexia
Shortness of breath, anxiety

What can you do?

Register with a midwife who reflects your cultural needs, who listens to you, and acts on your requests.  Have your blood pressure taken regularly and work to keep it under 130/90.  The best blood pressure reading is 120/80.   Find a professional doula who is trained as a birth and postpartum doula.  Eat a healthy soul food diet of collards, turnips, and mustards greens, cooked without meat or maybe just one turkey neck, eliminate soda, high sodium, and fast foods.  Maintain a high protein diet of 60-70 grams of protein a day.  Drink six to eight cups of water a day, drink red raspberry pregnancy tea in the last trimester of pregnancy.  During the pregnancy reduce your stress at work, at school or in your social life.  Take care after the baby is born and rest during the postpartum period for at least eight weeks.

Weight Gain

It’s important to gain enough weight to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Weight gain for the entire pregnancy of 38-42 weeks gestation is 25-35 lbs.  There are special circumstances when a pregnant woman needs to gain weight.   This should be discussed with their health care provider.     Research and midwives encourage activity during pregnancy as one of the best ways to manage weight gain and to feel good.   It is recommended to take up an activity, such as daily walking for 2-3 miles.  This can be broken up throughout the day.

Preeclampsia is very dangerous. It causes severe pregnancy illness, it can damage the organs, cause fetal retardation, premature delivery, death, or a life time of illness.

Make the life changes to help prevent preeclampsia.

Resources:

Lear more about high blood pressure here

Preeclampsia Foundation here

 

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Shafia M. Monroe, DEM. CDT, MPH
Office Number: 503-927-8357 | Email: Shafia@shafiamonroe.com