May is Pre-eclampsia awareness month and 22nd May is World Pre-eclampsia Day.
Hypertension in pregnancy can cause serious complications for both mother and baby especially when pre-eclampsia develops. More than 4.1 million women world-wide suffer from pre-eclampsia every year.
What is pre-eclampsia?
Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy related disorder. High blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine accompanies it. Pre-eclampsia can lead to severe complications for both the mother and baby.
Who is at risk of pre-eclampsia?
Pre-eclampsia can affect any pregnancy, but these pregnancies are more at risk:
- Family history of pre-eclampsia or a previous pregnancy with pre-eclampsia.
- Pre-existing high blood pressure, renal disorder or obesity.
- Age over 40 years or younger than 18.
- Expecting twins or triplets.
What causes pre-eclampsia?
We don’t know the exact cause of pre-eclampsia. What we do know is that the concentration of placental substances (e.g., PlGF and PAPP-A) are either too high or too low in pre-eclampsia compared to a healthy pregnancy.
Blood pressure monitoring and pre-eclampsia
During pre-eclampsia the blood flow through the placenta can be reduced so that the baby receives less oxygen and nutrients. This can cause low birth weight and other problems for the baby. Most women with pre-eclampsia still deliver healthy babies. Pre-eclampsia can be recognised by a clear increase in blood pressure (BP) after 20 or 32 weeks of gestation. Accurate blood pressure measurement in pregnancy is essential for early identification and management of pre-eclampsia.
Electronic blood pressure monitors can have difficulties to accurately measure blood pressure during pregnancy, and especially during pre-eclampsia. This means that, when measurements are taken with these devices, pre-eclampsia may NOT be detected. For this reason, healthcare authorities require a specific validation test for automated blood pressure monitors that are used in pregnant women and those who have pre-eclampsia prior to recommending the use of automated blood pressure devices during pregnancy.
The good news is that all our Microlife fully automated upper arm blood pressure monitors are clinically validated and approved for use during pregnancy and pre-eclampsia (*). Our Microlife blood pressure monitors not only allow healthcare practitioners to safely and accurately measure pregnant women’s BP, but also enable pregnant women to monitor their blood pressure safely and accurately at home.
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* Clinical reference available on request.