Llanelli Star - - FAMILY HEALTH -

Q I HAD pre-eclampsia in my first preg­nancy, and I’ve just found out I’m preg­nant again. What can I do to re­duce the risk of get­ting it this time?

A SPEAK­ING after a large study found eat­ing a diet rich in veg­eta­bles and fish is as­so­ci­ated with a lower risk of a preg­nant woman de­vel­op­ing high blood pres­sure and pre-eclampsia, con­sul­tant ob­ste­tri­cian Dr PAT O’BRIEN, spokesper­son for the Royal Col­lege of Ob­ste­tri­cians and Gy­nae­col­o­gists (RCOG), says:

“Pre-eclampsia oc­curs when the pla­centa doesn’t work prop­erly. It usu­ally oc­curs after 20 weeks of preg­nancy and is a com­bi­na­tion of raised blood pres­sure and protein in urine; blood tests may show the liver, kidneys and clot­ting sys­tems are af­fected too. Although it’s usu­ally mild, eas­ily man­aged and has very lit­tle ef­fect on preg­nancy, it some­times de­vel­ops into a more se­ri­ous ill­ness which can be lifethreat­en­ing for mother and baby.

“Around one in six women who’ve had pre-eclampsia will get it again in a fu­ture preg­nancy. A woman should be given in­for­ma­tion about her in­di­vid­ual risk of de­vel­op­ing pre-eclampsia in a fu­ture preg­nancy and about any ad­di­tional care she may need. “She should take low dose as­pirin (75mg or 100mg a day), start­ing be­fore 15 weeks of preg­nancy. This will sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce her chances of de­vel­op­ing pre-eclampsia again.

“A woman has a higher risk of de­vel­op­ing pre-eclampsia if her blood pres­sure was high be­fore preg­nancy, her blood pres­sure was high in a pre­vi­ous preg­nancy and/ or she had a med­i­cal prob­lem or a con­di­tion that af­fects the im­mune sys­tem. If a woman has any of these risk fac­tors, she will be ad­vised by her doc­tor to take low-dose as­pirin.

“High blood pres­sure and pre-eclampsia can re­sult in harm­ful com­pli­ca­tions for mother and baby. The lat­est study find­ings are en­cour­ag­ing as it shows there are ad­di­tional steps a woman can take to re­duce her risk of these con­di­tions by eat­ing healthily.

“It’s also vi­tal that women and their part­ners are en­cour­aged to man­age their weight and to have a healthy diet ideally be­fore con­cep­tion, to en­sure the health­i­est pos­si­ble preg­nancy and best start to their child’s life.”

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