It affects five to eight percent of pregnant women and there's no sure way to prevent it. Pregnancy-induced hypertension, also known as toxemia or pre-eclampsia can be very dangerous for both mom and baby. It's a condition that should be taken seriously and one South Dakota mom knows that all too well.
Lindsey Meyers' first pregnancy seemed to be going just fine.
"I just had no idea. I had no idea that I was sick at all," Meyers says.
A silent time bomb was ticking inside her body.
"Throughout my pregnancy, it got as high as 200 over 100," Meyers said.
Her blood pressure skyrocketed. 140 over 80 is considered normal and the warning signs showed up slowly.
"I was very stubborn about it because it was my first baby and I kept thinking, 'I feel fine.' You know, I want to have a normal pregnancy. I don't want to be the person who's home on bed rest. I'm busy, I have things to do, I want this to be normal. And so I kept pushing and pushing for things to be normal until I was so sick that it wasn't normal anymore," Meyers said.
She had pregnancy-induced hypertension, a condition that can prevent the placenta from getting enough blood. That meant her baby may not be getting enough oxygen or food.
And it put Meyers' health at risk as well.
"The worry was that I would have a stroke and that I wouldn't be able to take care of my child," Meyers said.
Put on bed rest at 28 weeks, Meyers' delivered her son, Finnigan, a month early.
"Finn ended up in the NICU because I had to be induced because my blood pressure, so you know, there's always a little bit of guilt there where you feel like could I have done more? Should I have stayed on bed rest? Should I have not been so stubborn and let it go so long?" Meyers said.
Almost 2 years later, Finn is a healthy growing toddler and Meyers' blood pressure is under control. But the risk of it spiking isn't out of the question, especially during another pregnancy. Her advice: listen to your body and your doctor.
"Don't be stubborn, pay attention to your body and pay attention to what your medical team is telling you. They're there for your best interest. That baby cannot advocate for itself and so you need to pay attention to your body and do what's best for that baby," Meyers said.
Even though there's often no feeling associated with a rise in blood pressure, symptoms do include swelling, sudden weight gain, visual changes and headaches. Find more information on what may put you at risk for pregnancy induced hypertension
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