Being pregnant for the first time might be one of the most exciting time of your life, but the complications and health problems that come with it aren’t. And that’s why taking care of yourself during those months is essential not just for your baby but for your overall health too.
If you are experiencing swollen face, hands, and feet during pregnancy, it can be a sign of preeclampsia–a condition where there is a sudden rise in blood pressure. High blood pressure during your first pregnancy can be quite alarming as it increases the chances of heart attack and cardiovascular deaths by four times says a Rutgers study published in the Journal Of Women’s Health.
About two to eight per cent of pregnant women worldwide are diagnosed with preeclampsia, which usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia is also the cause of 15% of premature births in the US. The cause is not identified yet but it is thought to be related to insufficiently formed placental blood vessels.
The researchers analysed 6,360 women between the ages of 18 to 54 for cardiovascular disease, who were pregnant for the first time and diagnosed with preeclampsia in New Jersey hospitals from 1999 to 2013 and compared them to pregnant women without pre-eclampsia. The researchers found that those with the condition were four times more likely to suffer a heart attack or cardiovascular death and more than two times more likely to die from other causes during that 15-year study period.
The lead author Mary Downes Gastrich, an associate professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a member of the Cardiovascular Institute of New Jersey says:
Women who were diagnosed with preeclampsia also tend to have a history of chronic high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and kidney disease and other medical conditions. Medication such as low-dose aspirin also may be effective in bringing down blood pressure as early as the second trimester
Gastrich also suggested that all women should go for the preeclampsia screening throughout their pregnancy and that treatment be given to those with preeclampsia within five years after birth.