About one in three mothers having twins experience symptoms and signs of preeclampsia, also known as toxemia or gestational hypertension.

What is Preeclampsia?

Pre-eclampsia is a restriction of blood supply going to the placenta, which provides food and oxygen to your babies. Pregnancy high blood pressure (gestational hypertension) combined with high amounts of protein in the urine, and usually develops from the 20th week of pregnancy.

Women at higher risk of developing toxemia include:

  • High blood pressure, hypertension prior to pregnancy
  • Women having twins or more
  • Teenage mothers
  • Family History - sisters or mother who had preeclampsia
  • A first time mom
  • Gestational diabetes or diabetes prior to pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Kidney disease
  • Women expecting who are 40 years of age or over

The exact cause of toxemia is not really known so any sign needs to be taken seriously with possible blood and urine tests being done. You may have more frequent doctor appointments as well.

Symptoms and Signs

During each routine check up you will have your blood pressure tested and a urine test to check protein levels. Also any indication of swelling in your hands or feet will be assessed. Water retention and weight gain of more than 2 pounds in one week can also be subtle signs.

Other symptoms not to be ignored can include:

  • High fever
  • Often feeling dizzy and drowsy
  • Not urinating regularly or at all possibly blood present in urine
  • A continuous ringing or buzzing in your ear
  • Nausea or vomiting. Frequently throwing up sometimes containing blood
  • Extremely painful headaches
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred or double vision or even a sudden loss of vision
  • Shortness of breath - your heartbeat is rapid or irregular

Contact your health care professional if you are experiencing any of these symptoms

Prevention and Treatment

The only true cure of gestational hypertension is delivering your twin babies. Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy it may be in the best of the interest of the babies to continue with the pregnancy until further on. The health of both mother and twins are considered.

Treatments and preventions include:

  1. Increasing the consumption of water
  2. Lying on your left side to reveal pressure on major blood vessels
  3. Reducing salt intake
  4. Adequate rest
  5. Avoiding caffeine
  6. Elevating your feet
  7. Regular monitoring from your healthcare professional.

In more severe cases complete bed-rest, medications and hospitalization may be required. Inducing labor or a c-section may be required.

Premature birth can be the result of severe toxemia. There is also the risk of developing eclampsia up to six weeks after the birth of your twins, which you will be monitored for. Most of the time the symptoms will subside after delivery.

Although most women expecting multiples will have some signs of toxemia doesn’t mean you or your twins will be effected, each experience is different and you should always consult with your healthcare professional.

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