Since the inception of the earth, there has always been reproduction, and we can all agree that the whole of humanity whether blacks, whites caucasians, asains has it (reproduction) in common.
Reproduction has been rightly defined as ‘providing for the continuous existence of species’; making a copy, a likeness I just love this definition! For races to continue being in existence, there ought to be ‘reproduction’, and if this biological process seizes, extinction will set in.
Now, this piece is not about reproduction and the wonders of it, but of an ailment that has made reproduction seem scary in Nigeria, especially for expectant mothers. hmm
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In recent years, Nigeria has recorded a surging record of cases of preeclampsia and eclampsia which has cut short the lives of so many women who embarked on the natural journey of reproduction and has also stolen the natural birth mothers of so many babies. The ailment has also cut short the pregnancy journeys of so many women which results in a rising record of stillbirths.
Preeclampsia is said to happen in late pregnancy, (above 20 weeks) but can happen in early pregnancy or post pregnancy. It is when a woman has high blood pressure, protein in her urine and swelling in her legs, feet and hands.
Preeclampsia when discovered early can be regulated till the baby is born under the close scrutiny of a doctor. Even after the birth of the baby or babies, symptoms can last for 6 weeks or more but they normally go away on their own.
However, the advanced stage of preeclampsia is eclampsia and this poses to have a high health risk for both mother and child. At this advanced stage, many mothers are said to have seizures, bleeding from the mouths and eventually death.
Having gotten my data from several social media platforms, where there has been a continuous rising reports of pregnant women and new moms dying from eclampsia with say identical symptoms, it is safe to say that so many expectant mothers have their lives cut short and has lost their babies from the deadly eclampsia.
How to Detect Preeclampsia Early
One can help protect themselve by knowing the early signs of preeclampsia and by having regular prenatal appointments with their doctor or nurses as is the case in some hospitals in Nigeria.
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During the routine check, your blood pressure will be checked for signs of high blood pressure and your urine sample tested to see if it contains protein. If your doctor suspects preeclampsia between 20 and 34 weeks of your pregnancy, they may suggest a blood test to help rule out preeclampsia.
Causes of Preeclampsia
The cause of preeclampsia has been identified by experts to relate to the malfunction of the placenta. In early pregnancy, new blood vessels develop and evolve to send blood to the placenta efficiently. Women with preeclampsia don’t have these blood vessels develop or function as it should.
This abnormal development can be caused by:
- Poor nutrition
- Damage to the blood vessel
- High body fat
- Insufficient blood flow to the uterus
- Problem with the immune system.
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Other High Blood Pressure Disorder in Pregnancy
Preeclampsia has been identified as one of the four high blood pressure disorders in pregnancy. The other three are:
This high blood pressure starts after the 20th week of pregnancy but does not cause high amount of protein in the urine. This type of high blood pressure normally goes away after delivery.
This type of high blood pressure was present before the inception of the pregnancy, or started before the 20th week of pregnancy.
Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia
This high blood pressure progresses during pregnancy causing more amount of protein in the urine and other complications.
Symptoms of Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia can set in without symptoms; that is why a constant check of your blood pressure and monitor of the presence of protein in your urine during pregnancy cannot be over emphasized.
Preeclampsia normally starts with a gradual or sudden surge in your blood pressure. In addition to blood pressure that exceeds 140/80, preeclampsia symptoms include;
- Change in vision which include a temporary blurred vision or sensitivity to light.
- Severe headache (headache that won’t just go away).
- Sudden weight gain and swelling also known as edema (because of increase in bodily fluid).
- Peeing less or not at all.
- Severe vomiting or nausea.
- Belly pain (in the upper right side).
- Shortness of breath (caused by fluid retention in the lungs).
- Excess protein in the urine.
- Shoulder pain.
- Change in mental state.
- Not enough platelets in your blood (Which can prevent blood from clothing).
- Listed below are some of the factors that can increase your chance of preeclampsia:
- If you had chronic hypertension before pregnancy
- Having a baby with a different father from your previous pregnancy
- Being a black woman makes one prone to having preeclampsia more than women from other races
- First pregnancy
- Being a teenager or woman over 40 years of age
- A history of obesity
- History of preeclampsia
- Carrying more than one baby
- Having babies less than 2 years apart or more than 10 years apart.
- In-vitro fertilization (IVF)
Treatment for preeclampsia involves 3 major procedures:
- Medication: This procedure is normally done on women experiencing a not so serious preeclampsia, it involves the administration of dietary supplements and some other treatments to help regulate preeclampsia until the baby is matured enough to be born
- Medical Procedure: This involves an artificial bringing on of labour, which will enable a woman birth her child. It can also be referred to as ‘labour induction’.
- Surgery: This involves the surgical delivery of a baby through the mothers abdomen. This procedure popularly known as a cesarean section is recommended when vaginal delivery poses difficult or dangerous for both mother and child.
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