Many women have heard of preeclampsia – it’s a known condition associated with pregnancy, characterised by high blood pressure developing around the 20 week mark. And while this condition can go away from when your child has been born, it can also manifest after birth. This is called postpartum preeclampsia.
What is it?
It is a rare condition that can develop during pregnancy or more rarely, soon after birth. In this case it usually presents within the first 48 to 72 hours after birth. In rare cases, symptoms can present up to one month postpartum. The condition restricts the blood flow, which can affect the brain and other vital organs, and cause high blood pressure.
Your doctor will check your blood pressure and your urine for signs of protein at every check you get. This will alert your doctor if you are showing signs of preeclampsia.
What are the symptoms?
Some of the symptoms for postpartum preeclampsia are:
- High blood pressure 140/90 or higher
- Excess protein in the urine
- Nausea or vomiting
- Severe headache
- Abdominal pain, especially under the ribs on the right side
- Very little urine output
- Sudden weight gain (more than 1 kilogram a week)
- Shortness of breath
If your doctor suspects you have preeclampsia, you may be hospitalised for a few days for evaluation and treatment. A blood test and urine test will be able to determine whether or not you have postpartum preeclampsia.
The main risk associated with postpartum preeclampsia is seizures, and medication is given over 24 hours to minimise this risk. High blood pressure will also be treated.
As always, pay careful attention to how your body is feeling during and after pregnancy and if you notice anything strange at all, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or healthcare provider.