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Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a condition that affects some pregnant women and affects the mother and unborn baby. This condition is characterized by high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia is also known as pregnancy induced hypertension and toxemia. This condition can either develop over time or come on rapidly. Preeclampsia is noticed more often in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Women suffering from Preeclampsia are likely to give birth to low birth weight babies since this condition hampers the placenta from receiving enough blood.


Pregnant women over the age of 40 or those carrying multiple babies are at higher risk for developing Preeclampsia. Women who are already suffering from hypertension or kidney disease are more susceptible for developing pre eclampsia. Lack of magnesium or calcium can lead to pre eclampsia. This can occur due to poor diet or immune problems. Hormonal disruption can also lead to preeclampsia. Symptoms of preeclampsia include sudden weight gain and swelling. The pregnant women is likely to experience headaches and vision problems. There might be upper abdominal pain, dizziness and vomiting.


In most cases, the woman is relieved of this condition on delivering the baby. If the symptoms of preeclampsia are noticed early in pregnancy, care must be taken to keep blood pressure under control. The physician will advice a woman during the time of pregnancy on the amount of salt to be consumed as well as the amount of water to be taken in a day. Often this may require hospitalization. The baby is closely monitored with ultrasound. Aspirin or additional calcium may be prescribed to prevent Preeclampsia in women who are more susceptible to developing it. Magnesium sulfate is given to women suffering from preeclampsia when they go into labor.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes insipidus occurs during pregnancy. This is a type of diabetes and about 2-10 percent of expectant mothers develop this condition. When pregnant, hormonal changes make your cells less responsive to insulin. But during pregnancy, the pancreas cannot keep up with the increased insulin demand, and hence blood glucose levels rise resulting in gestational diabetes.

Significantly, most women with gestational diabetes do not remain diabetic after the baby is born. Once you've had gestational diabetes, though, you are at higher risk during a future pregnancy and for developing diabetes later in life.


Symptoms of gestational diabetes

There are no symptoms and that is perhaps why all pregnant women have to undergo a glucose screening test between 24 and 28 weeks. If you are at a high risk for diabetes and are showing signs of it, then the doctor would recommend this screening test at the first prenatal visit and then repeat at 24 weeks, the initial test being negative. Follow up tests are done to find out if the result on glucose screening is positive.

High risk factors for gestational diabetes

The American Diabetes Association prescribes the following condition for early screening, in case of high risk namely:

Obesity and BMI over 30
If you have had gestational diabetes in previous pregnancy
If the urine has sugar and
If you have a strong family history of diabetes.

Other risk factors

If earlier delivery was a big baby
If you have had a stillbirth
If you have high blood pressure and
If you are over 35.

An association between excessive weight gain during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester and risk of gestational diabetes has been established.

Gestational diabetes: Pregnancy and baby

Poorly controlled diabetes may have short and long term consequences for you and your baby. If blood sugar levels are too high, the baby's blood may have too much glucose. The excess blood sugar and insulin can cause the baby to put on extra weight particularly in the upper body. This can lead to a condition called macrosomia. This baby may be too large to enter the birth canal or the baby's head may enter but shoulder may get stuck. This is a tricky condition called dystocia and the doctor has to use special procedures to deliver the baby.

Sometimes delivery of such babies may result in fractured bone or nerve damage which could become permanent in 99% of babies. It is better that babies of mothers with gestational diabetes, check their blood sugar regularly and breast feed the baby immediately after birth to prevent or correct hypoglycemia.

Such babies with hypoglycemia at birth are given IV glucose solution. Testing the baby's sugar and providing an IV if necessary can prevent serious problems such as coma, brain damage and seizures. The baby also exhibits high risk for breathing problems and newborn jaundice. In addition, the baby is also at risk for polycythemia or increase in the number of red cells in the blood and hypocalcaemia or low calcium in the blood. Women with gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of developing Preeclampsia, particularly those who are obese before pregnancy and blood sugar levels are uncontrolled.


Ankle swelling

A sign of fluid buildup or inflammation of joint and tissue, ankle swelling is also called ankle edema. It can also result from serious infections, trauma or circulatory disorders, cardiac disorders or any other abnormal processes. Mild ankle swelling is common after standing for a long period of time. Painless swelling of the ankles is a common problem among older people. Swollen ankles may indicate potentially serious disorders such as congestive heart failure, deep vein thrombosis and liver failure. Ankle swelling could also occur during pregnancy, being overweight or vascular problems or some orthopedic conditions such as bone fracture or a sprained ankle.


Swelling can also be caused by injury involving surgery in ankle. Long car rides and flight travel can lead to ankle edema. Many women notice ankle edema during pregnancy. It is complicated by Preeclampsia, a serious condition that includes high blood pressure and swelling. Certain medications, like antidepressants, calcium channel blockers, and hormones like estrogen and testosterone and steroids can cause swelling. Ankle swelling is common in those who are overweight, suffer blood clots in the leg or those who suffer leg infections.


Swollen legs are also often a sign of failure of heart, kidney and liver. This is an indication of too much fluid in the body. Gout is caused by accumulation of uric acid crystals within the fluid of the ankle. Those suffering from gout exhibit abnormal accumulation of uric acid within joints leading to inflammation and resultant swelling. Ankle arthritis is another degenerative change is the joint, though less common, which can be quite painful and could cause swelling. Blood clot, known as DVT, is a common vascular obstruction of blood flow which can cause swelling around the ankles and can also extend further up to the legs.


Since swollen ankles could be due to serious diseases and injuries, seek treatment without delay. Treatment depends upon the analysis of the underlying disease condition and its diagnosis.

  • Keep ankle lifted so that the leg falls on a straight line. An ice pack or ice in a plastic bag can be wrapped in a clean dish bowl and kept on the raised ankle.
  • Reduce intake of salt.
  • Cut down on processed food especially fast foods that overflow with salt.
  • To soothe tendinitis, sprains, strains and aches, alternate hot and cold vinegar wraps can do good.
  • Drink plenty of water as it moves through kidneys, bladder, diluting the urine and since urine has some fluid-retaining salt in it, the more it is diluted, the easier it is to remove salt and prevent edema.
  • Exercise such as as walking or swimming regularly helps.
  • Support stockings which are sold at most drug and medical supply stores can be worn.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing or garters around thighs.
  • Lose weight if need to.
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: September 18, 2019