After childbirth, some women can develop a condition called postpartum preeclampsia. Postpartum preeclampsia causes someone to have high blood pressure and high levels of protein in their urine. High blood pressure can raise the risk of conditions like strokes and blood clots. High protein levels in your urine can indicate developing kidney disease or a problem with filtering in your kidneys.
While postpartum preeclampsia is a serious condition, recovery is possible for most women. Genesis OBGYN providers can monitor you to reduce the risk of postpartum preeclampsia in mothers and provide the treatment you may need.
Signs of Postpartum Preeclampsia
On average, postpartum preeclampsia develops within 48 hours after birth, but it can develop as late as six weeks post-birth. Signs of postpartum preeclampsia include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain near the ribs
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of your face, hands, or feet
- Changes in vision (blurring, seeing spots, light sensitivity)
- Sudden weight gain
Your provider may ask that you monitor your blood pressure at home after you’ve given birth. Your provider will show you how to take your blood pressure. Call your provider if your blood pressure rises to 140 mm Hg systolic or higher with a diastolic reading of 90 mm Hg or higher. This is an indication of high blood pressure, also called hypertension.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your provider and seek immediate medical care. These symptoms can be signs of life-threatening conditions such as strokes or pulmonary edema.
Risk Factors for Postpartum Preeclampsia
While the cause of postpartum preeclampsia is unknown, there are risk factors that indicate you may have a greater risk of developing the condition once you’ve given birth. Risk factors include:
- Family or personal medical history of preeclampsia or postpartum preeclampsia
- High blood pressure during pregnancy
- Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
- Women younger than 20 or older than 40
- Multiples pregnancy
- Certain autoimmune conditions
Your provider will discuss your risk factors with you throughout your pregnancy. Routine monitoring and checkups help your provider monitor your and your baby’s health for signs of potential health problems. If you have questions about your post-birth healthcare monitoring and plans, your provider is here to help.
Complications of Postpartum Preeclampsia
Postpartum preeclampsia requires treatment, likely by your provider or in an emergency room at a hospital. If left untreated, postpartum preeclampsia can lead to medical complications, including:
- Blood clots
- HELLP Syndrome
- Pulmonary Edema (excess fluid in your lungs)
The complications listed above can also lead to permanent damage to your brain, liver, and kidneys, which can be life-threatening. Your provider will monitor you to reduce the risk of these complications.
Treatment For Postpartum Preeclampsia
Postpartum preeclampsia is treatable with medications focused on lowering blood pressure and intravenous (IV) medication to prevent potential seizures. Lowering your blood pressure to a safer level may take several days or weeks. Once your blood pressure is returned to safe levels, you will be less at risk of other complications.
Your provider will monitor you during this time to ensure you’re comfortable and recovering. We are here to help you through whatever complications may come with the birth of your child.
Discuss the Possibility of Postpartum Preeclampsia with Your Provider
If you have questions about the risks of postpartum preeclampsia, your provider at Genesis OBGYN is available to talk them through with you. We will monitor your recovery postpartum to help reduce your risk as much as possible.
Contact us to request an appointment to discuss postpartum preeclampsia today.