This post I will talk about the parts of the "antenatal visit" which covers pre-eclampsia.
It is so important that it happens (and so easily missed out) that I'm going to repeat it here. With all the other things that you and your midwife want and need to talk about, and the other checks that you have at the hospital or with your GP, it is easy to be confused whether you have been checked for pre-eclampsia or not.
There are five parts to a standard PRECOG check for pre-eclampsia. The check should be done regularly by your midwife or GP or doctor from 20 weeks. How often you have the checks depends on how likely you are to develop pre-eclampsia. If it is your first pregnancy, or ten years or more since your last pregnancy, or you are aged 40 or more, or have a BMI (see previous post) of 35 or more, or your mother or sister had pre-eclampsia, or your diastolic blood pressure (the lowest of the two numbers) at booking is between 80 and 90 PRECOG suggests that you have a pre-eclampsia check no less than every 3 weeks until 32 weeks, and every 2 weeks after that. The first check should be no later than 25 weeks, and may be earlier.
Each of the five parts are simple ways to look for the beginning of pre-eclampsia. They can appear in any order, and you do not have to have them all to have pre-eclampsia.
1. Your blood pressure is measured to see if the lowest number is less than 90.
2. Your urine (wee) is tested with a paper strip to see if there is any protein in it. The strip turns a different colour, depending on how much protein there is. A small amount is recorded as "trace" - more than this is recorded as + (one plus), ++ (two plusses), +++ (three plusses).
3. A check to see if your baby is growing steadily and moving about. The midwife will ask you how often you can feel your baby kicking or moving and will measure your stomach to see how much it has grown.
4. Tell your midwife if you have a bad headache, or if you can see flashing lights or spots before your eyes.
5. A bad pain just below your ribs, especially on the right side. You may also feel sick or be sick (this is sickness after 20 weeks, not the "morning sickness" of early pregnancy).