New guidelines for preeclampsia care have been released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The guidelines, created by the ACOG’s task force of experts on hypertension, include new recommendations for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
Preeclampsia is a hypertensive disorder that occurs during pregnancy. Each year, 50,000 to 60,000 women die of preeclampsia, making it the leading cause of maternal and perinatal illness and mortality worldwide.
The task force suggests women with a medical history of preeclampsia take a low-dose of aspirin starting late in their first trimester to reduce the risk of preeclampsia. The task force also noted taking vitamin C and vitamin E and are not effective methods to prevent preeclampsia.
For diagnosing preeclampsia, the task force discourages health care providers from using proteinuria (testing the urine for high protein levels) tests alone because of the inconsistent results. They recommend in addition checking blood pressure levels, testing for renal insufficiency, thrombocytopenia and impaired liver functions.
The task force also provided new guidelines for treating individuals with severe preeclampsia. It is strongly recommended that women with unstable maternal and fetal conditions deliver soon after maternal stabilization, regardless of gestational age. Women with stable conditions but still severe, should be taken care of at facilities with the ability to provide proper maternal and neonatal intensive care.