High blood pressure problems occur in 6 percent to 8 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S., about 70 percent of which are first-time pregnancies. In 1998, more than 146,320 cases of preeclampsia alone were diagnosed.
Although the proportion of pregnancies with gestational hypertension and eclampsia has remained about the same in the U.S. over the past decade, the rate of preeclampsia has increased by nearly one-third. This increase is due in part to a rise in the numbers of older mothers and of multiple births, where preeclampsia occurs more frequently. For example, in 1998 birth rates among women ages 30 to 44 and the number of births to women ages 45 and older were at the highest levels in 3 decades, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Furthermore, between 1980 and 1998, rates of twin births increased about 50 percent overall and 1,000 percent among women ages 45 to 49; rates of triplet and other higher-order multiple births jumped more than 400 percent overall, and 1,000 percent among women in their 40s.
How Is Preeclampsia Detected?
Unfortunately, there is no single test to predict or diagnose preeclampsia. Key signs are increased blood pressure and protein in the urine (proteinuria). Other symptoms that seem to occur with preeclampsia include persistent headaches, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and abdominal pain.
All of these sensations can be caused by other disorders and they can also occur in healthy pregnancies. Regular visits with your doctor help him or her to track your blood pressure and level of protein in your urine, to order and analyze blood tests that detect signs of preeclampsia and to monitor fetal development more closely.
The effects of high blood pressure during pregnancy vary depending on the disorder and other factors. According to the National High Blood Pressure Education Program (NHBPEP), preeclampsia does not in general increase a woman's risk for developing chronic hypertension or other heart-related problems. The NHBPEP also reports that in women with normal blood pressure who develop preeclampsia after the 20th week of their first pregnancy, short-term complications--including increased blood pressure--usually go away within about 6 weeks after delivery.
Some women, however, may be more likely to develop high blood pressure or other heart disease later in life. More research is needed to determine the long-term health effects of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy and to develop better methods for identifying, diagnosing and treating women at risk for these conditions.
Despite initial enthusiasm for the use of calcium supplements and low-dose aspirin therapy, these agents appear to be ineffective in the prevention of high blood pressure.
Comments: Blood Pressure - Preeclampsia
Comments 1 to 24 of about 70.
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mflynn - 863 days ago.
I wanted to share my story with you all. I have 3 beautiful children and just found out that we are expecting our 4th. During my 1st pregnancy, everything went beautifully. I made it to 39 weeks and went into labor at 2 in the morning while laying in the bath tub. On the way to the hospital, I started blacking out and having really severe headaches. After admission, my blood pressure started to spike really high, protein was found in my urine, and the dizziness and blacking out was becoming very severe. The docs started me on magnesium and immediately pushed the labor along using induction meds. 3 hours later, I had a very healthy baby boy. The next 7 days were horrible. No baby, no visitors, the blinds had to be pulled closed. They wanted absolutely no stimulation for me what so ever. Remarkably enough, after the 7th day, everything started progressively getting better and not long after that, they let us go home. I just want this story to be one of hope. After being diagnosed with severe preeclampsia, i have had 2 other successful pregnancies with no problems. The doc told me that the chance of it reoccuring was very slim. I had to take baby asprin every day, but that was about it. And also, preeclampsia doesnt always occur during pregnancy. Mine happened during the onset of labor. It was like my body completely flipped out. Ladies, just listen to your body. Know the signs and symptoms and make sure you keep up with your prenatal appts. Good luck to you all
bubs05 - 880 days ago.
cadesmum- sorry for your loss, i too had it pretty bad with my first pregnancy and we ended up losing her at 26weeks, i was so scared about getting preggers again but i gave birth to a beautiful boy a year later and managed to go all the way to 36 wks, i spent alot of time at the hospital up untill i did have him but like you i didnt want a repeat, i am now pregnant again 10wks and my blood pressure has already started to rise but im staying hopeful :)
email@example.com - 917 days ago.
I am 27 +3 weeks and had protein in my urine when I last saw my midwife, she is checking it again tomorrow I also had high sugar levels, and I'm getting abdominal and back pain, I'm also getting headaces can anyone give me advice I'm really worried thankss ..
Jessica6791012 - 988 days ago.
i plan on asking my dr. this but i just would like some feedback. i am 18 weeks pregnant and my dr thinks i may have preeclampsia ive already done a few tests for it and i am waiting for the results. she put me on high blood pressure pills to keep it low, my questions is, will keeping my bp low lessen or slow down the effects of preeclampsia?
ssaunders95 - 1150 days ago.
I am 26, over weight, hypothyroid, and had preeclampsia severly bad with my first son 4 yrs ago. I spent some time in ICU becuase I was never dx. I never had protien in my urine. I actually was diagnosed post partum in the ER, then went to ICU and finaly back to labor and delivery. I am so scared right now. Chances are looking like I will have it a second time. I am on the Brewers diet, 2 eggs, 4 cups of milk, fruit, veggies, grains, lean meats only. I am going to ask about taking baby aspirin.
Cadesmom - 1196 days ago.
I am 19 weeks pregnant now and delivered my son in 2008 at 25 weeks( it started at 23 weeks and it was severe190/120 bp and severe chest pain ) due to this disease he lived only 6 months. I am really scared I will get it again--- has anyone had a second pregnancy that was ok? I am just so scared my hubby and I cannot go thru that kind of loss again it was very hard for us.
my-little-pigtail - 1240 days ago.
26wks now and feeling alot more confident about this pregnancy. i followed the doctor's orders very precisely and by the next visit my BP was back to a healthy reading of 120/70, i'd lost a kilo and there was no protein in my urine. needless to say i am thrilled!! the hard part is now being on a low card, low sodium diet and having to watch what i eat so closely for the remainder of my pregnancy...sighhh. but it will be worth it in the end :)) today was my regular OB visit. my BP has remained normal, i have since had no swelling in my feet and hands, still no protein but i gained 2kgs. i think thats because i celebrated my birthday over the weekend and indulged in cake and pasta, etc lol discipline resumes from now! thanx for your thoughts ladies. blessings to all of you! xx
heathermichelle - 1242 days ago.
I am 33 weeks and 1 day. I did my first 24 hr urine analysis the other day and it was pretty elevated. I have to do another in the morning and have it checked. I was just wondering if anyone else has had the 24 hr urines done and could compare how much of a jump in protein there was between times. My dr is pretty sure I have preeclampsia but wanted another urine test to make sure. My blood pressure has been elevated and so has my sugar and I already take meds to manage both.
NicolesFirst - 1243 days ago.
I'm 26 weeks today.
Emily0930 - 1243 days ago.
How far along are you NicolesFirst?
NicolesFirst - 1243 days ago.
Pigtail - I know what you are going through. Last week at my reg. appt my blood pressure had spiked up to 150/80 which is far from my average. There was no protein in my urine though. Well I went back this week and my BP was still high and now there is showing a trace of protein in my urine! He put me on blood pressure meds and I have to go for another ultrasound on the 14th. I am freaking out but my hubby is doing a great job keeping me grounded and on track. Please keep me updated on how things turn out for you.
Emily0930 - 1243 days ago.
Piggtail - Have you gone to your appointment yet? And do you have a blood pressure cuff at home? If not, you should really invest in a good one. I have hypertension and preeclampsia with my last pregnancy and I've been monitoring my bp like crazy this time around. I hope you're doing okay. It can be scary. Just follow your docs orders, like you're doing!
my-little-pigtail - 1262 days ago.
i am 23 wks along and exactly a week ago at my monthly OB visit she realised my BP had spiked from 120/70 to 140/80, i gained 8/9lbs and there was a small trace of protein in my urine. this all progressed since my last visit. i had blood test done checking for HELLP syndrome as well as to check if i was building up antigens against baby since my blood group is O negative. i have been placed on bed rest until my next visit which she bumped up to the next 2wks. needless to say I was a wreck the first couple days after this all happened. I'm trying to do lots of reading on PE and strictly following doctor's orders: lower salt intake, drink lots of water, increase protein and decrease carbs. Since I felt fine before I'm not able to gauge if this is helping or not. I have to wait til I see my OB in a week...nerve-racking!!! This site has definitely helped me to see other persons have gone thru what I am now and the sacrifice was worth it! Thanks for your stories!!!! ***PS - Is there anything else I can maybe do to increase my baby's chances of going full-term??
Halle-Jane - 1305 days ago.
I had preeclampsia with my first pregnancy. At 35 weeks pregnant the midwife found protein in my urine and my blood pressure was really high. Nothing was done, but then at 37 weeks my fingers started to swell up, so I phoned the hospital just to ask for some advice, and they said it would be best to go in for some tests. After a few hours and tests, the doctor decided it would be best to be induced as I wasn't getting any better. First induce tablet didn't work, but second tablet worked a treat. My waters broke in the bath. I remember screaming down the hospital bathroom to my husband, I was in so much pain and was very scared. I was then sent straight up to the delivery ward as I was 5 cms dialated and soon as I got up there, I was already trying to push. The nurses were saying it's far too soon, but they were wrong, the baby's head could be seen. It was a really quick delivery. But my beautiful baby girl was perfect. 6 IB 4 born and she's now 5 years old. The only problem I had after the birth was post natal depression which was so horrible! But I don't think that's got anything to do with preeclamsia.
p123 - 1399 days ago.
i had pre-e in my last preg. it was too early as 20 weeks. i need to deliver baby soon at 22 week. now i am 5 weeks and afraid can it happen again?
maddoxsmomma - 1399 days ago.
Pinkdiamond ~~ i had pre-e that progressed to eclampsia with my first one. Born at 31 weeks. I went onto to have 2 other healthy children. Also, my sister had pre-e with her first child and three other kids with no problems. Hopefully this settles your nerves a bit :)
pinkdiamond - 1402 days ago.
I just found out I'm pregnant. I had horrible pre-e with my first. She was born at 34 weeks because of it. I'm so scared to do it again. Has anyone not had pre-e in their second pregnancy?
kbfulloffaith - 1454 days ago.
@Noahs Mommy - I too had a very scary delivery in 2008...I had HELLP and was in bad shape - spent 5 days in ICU after our baby was born. .. I was tested for 'underlying disorders' to see if they could 'treat' something to help me get further along and maybe have a more positive outcome. They found two - now I am on low dose aspirin, 1 folic acid pill, a prenatal pill (all while TTC) then I'll be on Lovenox if I get a BFP...it's scary, but I want a baby so badly I am willing to try.
papandreas - 1460 days ago.
My name is David Papandreas and my beautiful wife Elizabeth had preeclampsia and HELLP while she was pregnant with our first baby boy. After learning that she had developed preeclampsia we began researching it on the internet to learn more. We were curious as to what we should expect and ways of treating it. After discovering the only way to cure the disease is to deliver the baby (prematurely), we knew we had to do everything we could to keep our baby developing in the womb. When my wife had to go on bed rest, things should have gotten more chaotic and stressful, however, they didn’t. Over the months, we developed a wonderful system for getting things done. We found ways to stay positive and grateful the entire time. Now, 9 months after our baby was born, healthy and whole, A Mom and Dad's Guide to Preeclampsia is coming out to help other families with their struggle with preeclampsia. It is our sincere hope that this book helps many moms and dads persevere and they are able to learn from our experiences. This book, available in English and Spanish, provides information on what to expect and how to deal with the diagnosis of preeclampsia. Throughout the chapters, there are helpful tips and principles, along with real life stories that serve to illustrate how my wife and I handled this disease. We also share what we would change if/when we go through it again. This is our story and how our lives changed (for the better) in the process. We are donating 10% of our profits to go to preeclampsia research so we may better understand this disease. It is our goal to help find better ways of preventing and curing this preeclampsia. A Mom and Dad’s Guide to Preeclampsia is available online at www.MyPreeclampsia.com and www.Lulu.com. In the coming months, the book can also be acquired from Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Apple iBookstore and other distribution points. Thank you- David Papandreas firstname.lastname@example.org
MandyPerez - 1511 days ago.
Im 33 weeks 4 days Pregnant this is my 4th pregnancy im developing preeclampsia again this is the 3rd time i had PE issues .. I had preeclampsia with my 1st daughter i was 34 weeks pregnant she weighted 5/!2onz she was really healthy and we were home after 4 days ..My second pregnancy was normal full term baby..With my 3rd i started developing PE really early i was 18-19 weeks when the URQ pain started it was really hard to Walk and do stuff Finally at 33 weeks my daughter was Born My proteins Lvls were really High and My kidneys and liver were failing My daughter was born she sateyd on the NICU 3 weeks then went home with APnea Monitor for 4 months .....like i said im now 33 weeks pregnant almost 34 this pregnancy wasn't planned i found out i was pregnant at 16 weeks the doctor Put me on 81 ML of baby aspirin daily ..when i was 23 weeks pregnant The URQ pain started,the headaches and My vision is really bad i see dark spots ,sparkles u named it .They have done 4 - 24 hour Urine collection the first 2 were normal But the last ones were High so now i have to do the test every week ..the only thing thats is helping right now is that My BLood pressure is not that High im just praying to get past 36 weeks i dont want my baby to do any NICU time ..Good Luck to all of You with ur pregnancies
casey123 - 1513 days ago.
Shelly- I am on an extra 1mg of folic acid. so combined with my prenatal vitamin i am taking a total of 2mg folic acid. I know what you are going through, it is so scary! The doctor that delivered my daughter didn't come out and tell me not to have more children, but she didn't make me feel comfortable with the thought of having a 2nd. So when I got pregnant again (wasn't exactly trying) I got really scared. I decided to go to a new group of doctors and even spoke with a high risk doctor. Basically, they have all told me the same thing- it may or may not come back. The one doctor made me feel good because he went on to say he rarely saw it come back in a 2nd pregnancy (even though it happens, he said that in his experience he didn't see it to often). I am just staying positive and praying things will turn out ok. Good luck your doctor's appointment. You may even ask about taking a baby asprin a day.
Shelly - 1517 days ago.
casey123- How much extra folic acid are you on? I had preeclampsia with my first pregnancy that did develop into hellp syndrome. I am now 8 weeks pregnant. I haven't had my first Dr. appt yet. It is scheduled for next Friday. I've been trying to make sure I get a lot more calcium right now. I'm very worried about developing this again. My son was born at 37 weeks. He was perfectly healthy, just little. 4lbs 7 oz. It was me that was so sick. My 6 week followup- the Dr. advised me not to have any more children. That made me very sad, since I think everyone should have a sibling, if possible. Then at my year appt, I spoke with a different Dr., and he told me to go for it, that they would just keep a close eye on me. So again, here I am 8 weeks along!
casey123 - 1518 days ago.
Mileysmommy- I too had preeclampsia with my first daughter. It did not develop into HELLP or anything but I did end up delivering @ 29.5 weeks. She is doing fine, but a very scary time for us. I am now 14 weeks pregnant. I wasn't sure if I would have a 2nd because of the preeclampsia, but it just kinda happened. Anyway, I am just trying hard to stay positive, but the doctors do have me on a low dose of baby asprin and extra folic acid. I know there is notheing out htere that is for certain to prevent or cure preeclampsia, but the asprin and extra folic acid can't hurt. I would definitly talk with your doctors to see what thye say. Although you will find they all have something different to say about the topic. some doctors don't even bother with the asprin, but I don't see where it is hurting. Its worth a shot. Good Luck!
Mileysmommy08 - 1518 days ago.
Hi ladies, I had preeclampsi which progressed to HELLP and eclampsia with my first pregnancy along with other complications. My daughter ended up being born at 32 weeks. :( I just had my second daughter at 36 weeks due to preeclampsia which literally developed overnight. I was in the Dr office the day before I delivered and everything was fine. The next day my BP was high and protien in the urine. Anyone else get PE with two or more pregnancies? Anyone know of anything that could [possibly prevent PE? My husband and I want a big family but we obviously cant risk it if I keep getting very sick. :(
satucker - 1555 days ago.
butterflykisses... i had pre-eclampsia and some of the same symptoms. i was on bedrest for about 3-4 weeks and then i was induced at 37 weeks because my BP was still up on bedrest. Dizzy, Seeing Spots, very swollen ankles (i was actually swollen all over) But yes, it took a couple times doing tests to diagnosis. I was hospitalized to do a 24 hour urine test twice! Not fun... if you do have it, be prepared for bedrest and i had to go to the dr. twice a week from the point i was diagnosised till i delivered... less than 24 hours after delivery, my BP was back to normal and stayed that way... Good Luck and hopefully you will be fine when you go back!
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