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The risk of preeclampsia doesn't end with the birth of a child

You may have heard that the treatment for preeclampsia is delivering your child. While that may be true, you could easily be misled into believing that giving birth cures the condition. In reality, it does not. Childbirth is only a treatment, albeit a good one, but it does not remove the danger to you.

Even if you didn't experience preeclampsia during your pregnancy, you could still suffer from it for up to around six weeks after the birth of your child. You may not immediately recognize that something is wrong considering the fact that you are more than likely busy with a newborn and feel exhausted.

Watch for these symptoms

Your doctor may be remiss in warning you that you could suffer from this condition, which is most often characterized by dangerously high blood pressure, after giving birth. If this happened to you while pregnant, delivering your child may have lulled you into a false sense of security. Your doctor should have warned you otherwise. The truth is that any new mother could suffer from this condition after giving birth, so you should watch for these symptoms:

  • Stomach pain
  • Severe and persistent headache
  • Vision changes such as seeing spots
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Swelling of the face and hands
  • Blood pressure at or over 140/90

As you can see, it can be challenging to determine whether some of these symptoms relate to preeclampsia, so watch yourself carefully. Your highest risk is during the first seven days after birth, but as mentioned already, the risk can last up to six weeks. This condition could cause seizures, organ damage, stroke or death, so don't hesitate to seek medical attention if you suspect you have a problem.

Even though no one really knows why this condition develops, your obstetrician should warn you that this is a possibility even if you didn't have it during your pregnancy. Too many women end up suffering harm from postpartum preeclampsia because they believe that delivering their children cures the condition when it is only a treatment.

Seeking support

Doctors do not always take the time to look for these symptoms. If your symptoms are not getting the attention you believe they deserve, don't hesitate to speak up for yourself. Let the emergency room doctor, your doctor or the labor and delivery ward doctor know that you recently had a baby. This should trigger a more thorough examination. Even though the focus after birth is ordinarily on the baby, you deserve some attention as well.

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