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Ask the Expert: How do I lower preeclampsia risk in pregnancy?

Ask the St. Elizabeth Expert: How do I lower preeclampsia risk in pregnancy? (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A new study shows a common pregnancy complication is really costly to our health care system.

If you are planning a pregnancy or even thinking about having a baby in the near future, pre-natal experts at St. Elizabeth Healthcare say that now is the time to start working with your medical team.

They could help you lower the risks for this common complication and improve the life and health of mother and baby.

Little Ranihya Davis is one-day-old and a healthy baby girl.

“She's happy,” said her mother Stephanie Davis. “Doesn't really cry unless she's hungry.”

Dr. Neil Martin says some of that is because her mom Stephanie did everything possible to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

“If you want a healthy baby, you have to have a healthy mom,” said Dr. Martin.

This new report from the National Institutes of Health however, says many moms are struggling with a common pregnancy complication. It's called preeclampsia.

“Preeclampsia is a condition you only find in pregnancy, usually as they get further along in their pregnancy, generally their blood pressure will become elevated and there is protein in the urine,” said Dr. Martin.

Preeclampsia is tough on mom and baby. The biggest problem with it is as the blood pressure grows up it can effect health of the mother and baby; mom can have a seizure during the pregnancy which can obviously cause problems for the baby as well too.

It's also tough on the health care system. A report found that preeclampsia complications are now more than $2 billion a year to America’s health care system.

Based on that information, here's what they want everyone to know: The only way we are able to control those costs is to prevent this problem, so there's a couple things that experts say every new mom should know.

“If you are in an elevated weight or BMI, that will put you at risk, not smoking, will help with that as well,” said Dr. Martin.

Dr. Martin says good pre-natal care, as Stephanie was able to get with little Ranihya, also makes a difference. It can let you and your medical team monitor any potential complications with mom so that baby is born healthy.

One of the reasons this is a big concern, is the only real treatment is to deliver the baby. So if this happens early in pregnancy it’s a real risk to a baby's survival.

They are working on therapies for this, but so far the trials are early.

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