After having had preeclampsia twice already, and being pregnant with my third child right now, I just wanted to pop into these boards that I frequently lurk about, and recommend a couple of easy ways to keep calm and protect yourself. I know there's no real way to prevent preeclampsia, but having the ability to monitor yourself has been invaluable for me to stay calm and enjoy a happy, healthy pregnancy. I don't have any magic solutions, but here's my two major recommendations:
1) Buy your own blood pressure monitor. I can't believe that every pregnant woman isn't just given one standard issue at the first OB appointment. they aren't that expensive, and can lead to detecting a life-threatening condition easily. I personally check my blood pressure twice a day, morning and evening, and keep a close log on my levels. I think it's worth the peace of mind that knowing even though today you have a terrible headache, or oh-boy are my feet swollen, your blood pressure is within normal range. Plus there's the additional benefit of checking (as I did in week 37 of my last pregnancy) and finding out "OMG my blood pressure is through the roof and I feel fine!" (I was emergency delivered the next day. even though I was not scheduled to have my next doctors appointment for another 2 weeks) I was able to catch my own preeclampsia the day after my last doctors visit, and saved myself from a potentially dangerous squeeze there. Bottom line: Just break down and buy your own monitor! Don't wait until your doc can squeeze you in, even if it's the next day, or later the same day. What's the worst that can happen?
2) Greatest find ever!!! <--- Did you know that you can actually purchase (for CHEAP) urinalysis reagent strips to test your urine for protein at home? For about $12.00 on Amazon you can get the very same strips they use in your OBGYN office to make sure you aren't spilling protein. I learned about these for this pregnancy, and I cannot begin to tell you how awesome it is waking up in the morning, peeing in my little cup, dipping in a quick stick and 1min later knowing FOR A FACT that even though I'm feeling cruddy and swollen my urine does not have any protein. Now, this is absolutely not a valid way to know 100% that you are invisible against preeclampsia , and is no substitute for going to see your physician, or heading to the ER is you are convinced something is wrong. But, they are extremely easy to use, and clinical strength. Meaning if you use them correctly (they're extremely easy) you will be able to have a peace of mind knowing there is no protein being detected in your urine. The flip side is also the case. If you test and get positive results, you can make an appointment with your doc STAT before things spiral out of control.
For the strips I bought Rapid Response 10 parameter reagent strips off Amazon. They sell them in pharmacies but they are much more expensive. These are neat because they can also detect UTIs. Even if you aren't yet feeling symptoms. Here's a link: http://www.amazon.com/Response-Paramete ... 752&sr=8-1
In conclusion, simply having a BP monitor, and reagent strips to make sure you aren't spilling urine can be an amazing way to feel safe and secure with your pregnancy. Especially for those of us who have suffered from Preeclampsia before. With my first pregnancy, I was one of the unfortunate women who have doctors who pretty much ignore us and put us at risk. I was treated for preeclampsia and spent 3 weeks in the hospital, all without even knowing what it was.
With my second, I researched as much as I could, found a much better doctor, and spent the money on a BP monitor that helped me catch it creeping up myself from home. And now, I get the additional benefits of the reagent strips. Once again, this is NO substitute for proper prenatal care and going to your OB on a regular basis. I cannot stress that enough. But it sure feels nice to be able to relax and enjoy my pregnancy without constantly worrying about what's going on in my body.