If you're experiencing your first pregnancy, you may have a lot of questions about what to expect. In most cases, you can find the answers without too much trouble. We're blessed to live in an age of information. However, what may be troubling you the most are the questions you can't think of, or the answers that you can't find. As far as the science of pregnancy has come, doctors are still finding out new things about it every day. Most recently, researchers from the University of Manchester and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust made strides in the early identification of preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a relatively common condition, as it occurs in about one in 20 women. But as frequently as physicians see preeclampsia, it was also fairly hard to detect during the first trimester until recently. Physicians could detect it 20 weeks into a pregnancy by noticing high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Unfortunately, the condition sometimes leads to a premature delivery, since it can otherwise cause harmful consequences to the mother.
For mothers who have previously experienced preeclampsia, there's a higher chance that it will reoccur. This provides physicians with some warning that the condition will arise months before symptoms show. While this was once the only warning about this health risk, now physicians can identify three key proteins that help predict the problem. Two of these were previously unknown to have any association with preeclampsia.
"We also hope to understand the biology of the disease better by determining why these proteins are higher in women with preeclampsia and whether they have a role in the development of the placenta," Jenny Myers, Ph.D., said in a statement.
What the potential for preeclampsia means
While there are few ways that you can change your day-to-day life to reduce the chance of preeclampsia, the Mayo Clinic suggested that regularly working with your physician can help you lead a relatively uneventful pregnancy. There's a possible link between vitamin D and a lowered risk of preeclampsia, but it isn't certain. There's little risk to taking vitamin D itself, and it's abundantly available just by soaking in a little sun - though a nice piece of salmon or glass of fortified milk helps, too.
If you showed signs of preeclampsia during your first pregnancy, what kind of treatment did your doctor suggest? What about during any later pregnancies? Please let us know!