In September 2015, media personality, Shine Begho discovered she was pregnant and it was pure joy for her family. But one day in February 2016, she went for her antenatal class but was told she couldn’t go back home. She was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.
According to MayoClinic, pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys.
Pre-eclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had been normal. Even a slight rise in blood pressure may be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
If it is left untreated, it can lead to serious, even fatal complications for a woman and her baby. If you have pre-eclampsia, the only cure is delivery of your baby.
If you’re diagnosed with pre-eclampsia too early in your pregnancy to deliver your baby, you and your doctor face a challenging task. Your baby needs more time to mature, but you need to avoid putting yourself or your baby at risk of serious complications.
At the time of Shine’s diagnosis, she was between 22-24 weeks pregnant.
At a point, her blood pressure had risen so high, it would have led to a stroke. She was also having constant headaches and blurry visions.
When she was 33 weeks pregnant, a test was carried out and it was discovered that the water in her amniotic sac was too low for the baby, surprisingly, the baby was doing well; however, Shine’s life was at risk.
So, an emergency delivery was carried out. Sadly, eleven days later, Shine lost her son. With that experience, Shine is working on a project to educate mothers-to-be on the dangers of pre-eclampsia and how to avoid it.
She also advised that women attend their antenatal classes faithfully as she wouldn’t have known that her blood pressure had risen if she had not gone for her classes.
MayoClinic says, pre-eclampsia may develop sometimes, without any symptoms, but there are things to watch out for. High blood pressure, which is the first sign of pre-eclampsia should be checked regularly. Blood pressure that exceeds 140/90 millimeters or greater on two occasions, at least four hours apart, is abnormal.
Other signs and symptoms are:
Excess protein in your urine (proteinuria) or additional signs of kidney problems
Changes in vision, including temporary loss of vision, blurred vision or light sensitivity
Upper abdominal pain, usually under your ribs on the right side
Nausea or vomiting
Decreased urine output
Decreased levels of platelets in your blood (thrombocytopenia)
Impaired liver function
Shortness of breath, caused by fluid in your lungs
Sudden weight gain and swelling (edema) — particularly in your face and hands — may occur with pre-eclampsia. But these also occur in many normal pregnancies, so they’re not considered reliable signs of pre-eclampsia.