We recently shared with you that former Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kenya Moore, who is at the tail end of her pregnancy, revealed that she could be suffering from preeclampsia. In a post on Instagram, the 47-year-old shared a photo of her very swollen feet and informed followers that she gained 17 pounds in one week due to swelling.
“I made fun of my swollen feet at @cynthiabailey10 party. Next day my tests came back for possible preeclampsia…I gained 17 lbs in ONE week due to severe swelling and water retention, high blood pressure, and excess protein in urine. This is NOT normal!” she wrote.
“I took more tests. Baby is fine but if they come back higher #babydaly will have to come same day,” she added. “Staying positive. To my pregnant sisters please go to your visits and tell the doctor of any drastic changes. Thank God I have great doctors.”
For those who don’t know, preeclampsia is very common. In fact, according to Medical News Today, it impacts about 1 in 20 pregnancies. That’s probably why soon after Moore shared the post, a few famous friends, including Cynthia Bailey, Egypt Sherrod and Syleena Johnson revealed, in support, that they had the complication while pregnant and things turned out fine.
So what exactly is it, aside from swelling, and what causes it? Here are five things to know, according to experts, about preeclampsia.
- First and foremost, preeclampsia is a pregnancy condition most often seen in women pregnant for more than 20 weeks where the mom-to-be’s blood pressure is elevated dramatically. In Moore’s case, the protein in her system also increased, but according to the Preeclampsia Foundation and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, high levels of protein aren’t required to diagnose someone with the condition. One can begin to have issues with their kidneys and liver without their being signs of protein, and an increase in it doesn’t determine how severe a case of preeclampsia could be.
- There are different signs and symptoms of the condition. In mild cases, according to the organization American Pregnancy, blood pressure is high, water retention is present and there is protein in the urine. For more serious cases, there is a lot of pain for the mom-to-be. For example, there are headaches, as well as obscured vision, the inability to deal with bright light as well as pain in the abdomen, problems breathing, and nausea or vomiting.
- The earlier a condition like preeclampsia or the possibility of it for an expectant mother is diagnosed and tracked, the better the chances that things will be just fine. If not, complications can arise. As far as treating it, if a mother is close enough to her due date, it is likely that their doctor will want to deliver the baby early for fear that the placenta won’t get enough blood after a while. For those who still have a ways to go, it’s often encouraged that they consume less salt, increase their water intake, and go on possible bed rest that encourages the mom-to-be to lie on her left side (for the sake of major blood vessels impacted by the weight of the baby).
- So what exactly causes preeclampsia? It’s not exactly known, but there are a number of theories. According to the Preeclampsia Foundation, it could be tied to “changes in biology of the placenta, the systemic inflammatory response, a variety of hormones and other proteins that are in the mother’s circulation, changes in immune factors, improper cardiovascular adaptations to the pregnant state, underlying maternal risks for cardiovascular disease, associations with insulin resistance and diabetes, and deficiencies in essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.” But those who are at risk most often are first-time mothers, those who have a gap, at least 10 years that is, after having their first child, and those with a family history of the condition. Other risks include obesity, women being pregnant with multiple babies, a personal history of preeclampsia, and in Moore’s cases, women over 40 and teens are more likely to have to deal with the condition than other women.
- Preeclampsia is even possible after birth, called postpartum preeclampsia. With this form of the condition, which forms as soon as a few days to a few weeks after delivery, new moms end up dealing with high blood pressure and a protein increase in their urine, which causes the aforementioned symptoms. However, since the baby is out, it can be treated in an easier way if properly diagnosed soon enough with help of blood pressure meds.
If you want to try and prevent preeclampsia while pregnant, there isn’t a fail-proof plan. But by taking precautions to curb the factors that increase one’s blood pressure, a huge part of the condition obviously, it’s possible. That includes, as previously mentioned, drinking more water (about eight glasses per day), staying away from fried, processed and salty foods, avoiding any alcohol and caffeine, resting, taking supplements prescribed by your doctor, and exercising regularly and elevating your feet a few times a day.
It’s good that Moore is “staying positive” about the situation, as stressing would likely make things worse. Hopefully her tests will come back to her liking, and baby Daly will be delivered when originally planned (around Thanksgiving). If not, we are also hopeful that all will be done to ensure that mother and baby will be healthy and happy.