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Pre-Eclampsia - Reduce your risks

What is Pre-Eclampsia in pregnancy?

Pre-eclampsia is a condition that affects some pregnant women usually during the second half of pregnancy (from around 20 weeks) or immediately after birth of their baby.

Women with pre-eclampsia have the following symptoms:

  • high blood pressure

  • fluid retention (oedema)

  • protein in the urine (proteinuria)

  • thinning of blood (coagulopathy) & Liver dysfunction

If left untreated can lead to serious complications. In the unborn baby, pre-eclampsia can cause growth problems.

What Causes Pre-Eclampsia?

Although the exact cause of pre-eclampsia is not known, it is thought to occur when there is a problem with the placenta (the organ that links the baby’s blood supply to the mother’s). Pregnant women with pre-eclampsia may not realise they have it.

Pre-eclampsia is usually diagnosed during routine antenatal appointments. Mild pre-eclampsia can be monitored with blood pressure and urine tests at regular antenatal appointments and usually disappears soon after the birth.

What are the Risk Factors for Pre -Clampsia :-

  • First pregnancy

  • Maternal age > 40 years old

  • Last pregnancy > 10 years ago

  • Overweight

  • Family History of Pre-Eclampsia

  • Multiple pregnancy

Heightened Risk Factors :

  • High blood pressure prior to pregnancy (Hypertension)

  • High blood pressure during a previous pregnancy

  • Chronic Kidney disease, Diabetes or inflammatory disease (effects the immune system) ie Lupus

New evidence suggests you can reduce your risk of Pre-Eclampsia in pregnancy by Increasing your calcium intake and taking regular low-dose Aspirin.

Factor to consider before taking Apsirin

**Always consult you obstetrician or carer giver before

commencing Aspirin***

  • Usual Dose 100-150 mg per day, taken at night

  • Aspirin treatment usually commences early in the pregnancy around 12 to 16 weeks gestation and ceased at 37 weeks gestation.

  • Women with pre-existing Asthma diagnosis may find Aspirin could trigger Asthma

  • Side effects can include heartburn and reflux

  • Women with history of bleeding disorders or low platelets

Factors to consider increasing Calcium intake

*Always consult you obstetrician or care giver

prior to commencing any new medication

this includes multivitamins**

Increasing Calcium is primarily done via dietary changes such as;

  • Milk

  • Yoghurt

  • Tofu

  • Pink Salmon & canned fish

  • leafy green vegetables

  • Some cheeses.

If Calcium increase cannot be met via dietary changes a Calcium supplement may be prescribed from 20 weeks gestation

If you have questions about taking Aspirin or calcium or have questions about Pre clampsia and you pregnancy , Dr Saj Rathnayake’s patients can contact our rooms via the link or by phoning 03 5222 5585

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