In our continuing series regarding preeclampsia, some clues are warning signs of worse things to come. Pregnant women are often misdiagnosed because some healthcare providers focus on the patient’s blood pressure and either ignore or are not aware of these other vital signs. Please don’t ignore the symptoms listed below. They could potentially save your life.
1. Headaches that don’t go away with over-the-counter meds such as acetaminophen (or Tylenol®) could be an early warning sign of high blood pressure. Please do not ignore a headache, especially if you are in the late third trimester (36 to 40+ weeks). Untreated high blood pressure can lead to stroke.
2. Blurry vision in pregnancy can sometimes occur because of fluid retention. However, blurry vision associated with flashing lights or spots could represent a preeclampsia warning sign that should be reported to your physician or midwife immediate.
3. Swollen ankles, feet or fingers should prompt you to take your blood pressure, especially if you can no longer wear rings or your shoes.
4. A three or four-pound weight gain in short period (one or two weeks) should not be ignored, and if your physician or midwife doesn’t notice it during your prenatal visit, please bring it to their attention.
5. Your pregnant belly appears smaller than usual. Sometimes high blood pressure affects fetal growth, a condition called intrauterine growth restriction (aka) IUGR.
Preeclampsia is often misdiagnosed because people only focus on blood pressure; however, the body gives subtle hints and being aware of these hints could potentially save your life or the life of someone you love.
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