What You Should Know
Pregnancy isn’t easy. There are so many things to worry about and complications such as pre-eclampsia make things even harder. Most pregnant women are unaware of the dangers of such a disorder however. The purpose of this article therefore is to discuss what it is and the symptoms that you should look out for.
What Is Pre-Eclampsia?
It is a disorder that women get during pregnancy and it involves convulsions. These convulsions are not pleasant and can create a lot of pain. As a general rule it happens after the first 20 weeks of your pregnancy and is more likely with your first child. Even if you do not experience signs of pre-eclampsia it does not necessarily mean that you have escaped it. Sometimes the symptoms can go unnoticed. It occurs before, during or after your labor, so it is important to look out for the signs. There are four stages of eclampsia and each stage is marked by more and more pain, so it is best to spot it as early as you can. These eclamptic convulsions can be very intense and can go unnoticed, so pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you.
This stage is tolerable for a woman in labor and can often be mistaken as merely a part of the labor process, so it is generally accepted and nothing is done about it. Watch out for rolling of the eyes and a slight twitching of the facial muscles at the same time. You may not be able to spot this yourself, so ask your partner or family member to be extra vigilant. Try not to worry too much about it though, midwives and nursing staff are well trained in these complications and will usually be able to spot them for you. It is still a good idea to be informed however.
This stage is more noticeable and this is where the pain increases for the woman. In this stage the woman’s teeth will begin to clench and can result in her biting her tongue. Now the facial muscles will have progressed into a clenching movement rather than just twitching, this will also been noticeable in the hand muscles. Watch out for the legs and arms going rigid too and a loss of breath. Loss of breath can last for about 30 seconds.
This is the stage where things can get frightening and pain increases considerably. You will notice that the muscles will start to violently jerk, kind of like an epileptic fit. Another clue is when you see frothy and bloody saliva emanating from the mouth. This process will last for around two minutes and then it stops. Shortly after this you will go into a coma and it can then lead to heart failure.
The woman could already be dead by this stage if the eclampsia is serious enough. She can also fall into deep unconsciousness that can last for a number of hours or mere minutes. Every case is unique, that is why special attention must be paid. Given the seriousness of the symptoms discussed above, we can see that this is something that all pregnant women should be made aware of. Nowadays, medical care is second to none and you will be monitored for such worst-case scenarios, so put your mind at rest. If however, you are at home and labor comes on unexpectedly and you notice some of these symptoms, please contact your doctor immediately or ring for an ambulance. You cannot be too careful. Your ability to spot the signs could save your life as well as that of your unborn child, so be vigilant.