Preeclampsia is a serious condition that can affect Mom’s health and your babies during the twin pregnancy. It is a condition that causes extreme high blood pressure in the mother. This, in turn, reduces the blood flow to the placenta and is a dangerous situation for your unborn twins.
Preeclampsia is also known as toxemia and pregnancy induced hypertension.
Singleton pregnancies only experience preeclampsia in one out of 20 cases. Twin pregnancies are at a higher risk with one in five or more experiencing preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia typically happens during the second half of the twin pregnancy.
Preeclampsia Detection: Know Your Symptoms
Warning signs of preeclampsia include rapid rise in blood pressure, protein in the urine, sudden and disproportionate weight gain, and swelling of the face and hands. At each prenatal visit, your wife’s urine will be tested for protein, and thus preeclampsia.
Call your doctor right away if your wife is experiencing any of these symptoms. Don’t wait for your next prenatal visit!
Preeclampsia Prevention and Treatment
Like Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, the causes of preeclampsia aren’t very well known. Therefore your focus should be on watching for the symptoms and signs of preeclampsia.
Some sources (like Dr. Luke’s When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads) indicate that eating food or supplements with Omega-3, Calcium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E will help prevent preeclampsia. However, the important thing is to learn the warning signs (described above) and consult your physician if you suspect problems.
Typical treatments for preeclampsia include bed rest and modification to your wife’s diet (more water, less salt). In extreme cases, your wife may need to be hospitalized.
Preeclampsia is ultimately cured when the babies are born. Unfortunately, this means your babies may be born early if the preeclampsia can not be treated effectively.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
Here’s what Dads need to do and think about preeclampsia:
- Make sure your wife gets regular prenatal visits. Go with her if you can.
- Watch for the symptoms of preeclampsia like swelling of the hands and face and sudden and rapid weight gain.
- When in doubt, call your wife’s doctor (or help her do so).
- If preeclampsia strikes, be ready to help your wife survive bed rest and possibly deal with premature twins.
Keep your eyes open for symptoms and be prepared to help when needed. Early detection and quick treatment will lead to both healthy twins and a healthy mother.
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