Pre-eclampsia is a medical disorder that occurs during pregnancy and the cause of pre-eclampsia is not fully understood. Early signs of pre-eclampsia are increased blood pressure or protein found in the urine and these are checked at your antenatal appointment. Pre-eclampsia can occur from the 20th week of pregnancy. however in most cases pre-eclampsia occurs during the third trimester. Further symptoms can develop such as; kidney dysfunction, swelling, visual problems, low blood platelet count or inability to breathe properly.
But what is postpartum pre-eclampsia is and how does it happen?
Postpartum pre-eclampsia is a very rare condition which affects around 600 women a year. In general, cases of postpartum pre-eclampsia start developing within forty-eight hours following childbirth. But, postpartum pre-eclampsia can also develop up to six weeks after birth and is known as late postpartum pre-eclampsia. Preeclampsia is usually cured once the baby is born, but postpartum preeclampsia comes does not occur until after the baby is born.
Postpartum preeclampsia is not a medical disorder that a patient can diagnose themselves. Unfortunately, most women will not have any symptoms during their pregnancy or even after childbirth. In most cases women are totally unaware that this could happen to them and do not look out for the symptoms as they are focusing on a full recovery and their new baby.
If you have recently had a baby (within the last 6 weeks) and you are experiencing the following; high blood pressure, headaches, blurred vision, swollen limbs and face, gained weight, nausea or decreased urination please book an appointment with your GP or mention it to your health visitor so that they can rule out postpartum pre-eclampsia.
Women who have a family history of pre-eclampsia are at higher risk of developing the condition. It occurs more often in women who are overweight or women under the age of twenty or above the age of forty.