The Dangers of Preeclampsia in Pregnancy

Preeclampsia, otherwise known as toxemia, is a disorder that occurs during pregnancy wherein the woman’s blood pressure rises to an abnormally high level. This condition is characterized by proteinuria, which symbolizes abnormal levels of protein in the urine, and other metabolic disturbances, and could endanger the life of the mother and the fetus during the third trimester of a pregnancy or at around twenty weeks of gestation.
In the United States, there is a 5-7% occurrence of preeclampsia of all the pregnancies, which is 23.6 cases in a thousand, and due to its life-threatening possible effects, it is the third leading cause of pregnancy-related death.  In the US, the maternal mortality rate is still around 12 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, a nymber that puts America behind at least 41 other countries. 

If you are pregnant and are worried that you may suffer preeclampsia, there are ways to help lower your overall risk of cardiovascular disease, although there is no known prevention or cure for preeclampsia itself. One good idea is promoting prenatal exercise, because a high BMI is one known risk factor. Aside from being in a normal weight range before pregnancy, prenatal exercise is prudent because if you do get acutely ill, your recovery is likely to be much faster if you are in decent shape to begin with. Check with your doctor, because many women at risk for preeclampsia are advised to rest more than normal. According to a case-control study, prenatal exercise is considered a primary step toward preventing preeclampsia, cutting the risk 34% less for developing hypertension. Now, that’s a figure that means something. Prenatal exercise, like ordinary exercise, is aimed at making a person more fit and less susceptible to disease and body disorders, which are usually more likely to affect a person with a sedentary lifestyle. Prenatal exercise is also designed to do the same thing, but in this kind of exercise, you are not only doing the fitness training for yourself, but also for your baby.
Studies have shown that stretching exercises can be effective for prenatal exercise methods to help control blood pressure. Walking can also have some benefits, but all prenatal exercise routines should be monitored by your health care provider. Not only will prenatal exercise keep you healthy, it can potentially affect the lives of you and your baby.
Of course, prenatal exercise and general care should come with a good and balanced prenatal diet, to keep you and your baby healthy. This includes an adequate percentage of fruits and vegetables, and prenatal vitamins and whatever supplements you are prescribed, if any. Although there is no sure way of eliminating the risk of preeclampsia, it is false to say that there is no hope, because there is definitely something you can do about it. Start your pregnancy off on the right foot by eating a balanced diet and participating in a carefully monitored  prenatal exercise program today.
Please help support further research into the causes of preeclampsia and help increase awareness about the symptoms of preeclampsia by participating in your local Promise Walk. Promise Walks happen across the nation, so look for one in a city near you by logging onto  www. promisewalk.org. If you live in the San Diego area log on and join our Baby-Steps team for the Promise Walk being held Saturday May 14th at Crown Point Shores. For more information contact: becky.sloan@preeclampsia.org

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