When Beyonce was pregnant with her twins, Rumi and Sir, she developed preeclampsia. That led to a month’s bed rest before an emergency C-section. The babies were in neonatal intensive care for a month after birth.
Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by high blood pressure and high amounts of protein in the urine, which can damage fetal development and endanger a woman’s health. It affects about one in 25 pregnancies in the United States every year. Afterward, mom may develop high blood pressure and heart disease. Now we know it can cause mental, behavioral and emotional problems in kids.
A Finnish study of 4,743 mother-child pairs, published in the journal Hypertension, found that kids had a 66% higher risk of mental disorders if their moms had preeclampsia and a 100% greater risk if the preeclampsia was severe.
The causes of preeclampsia are complex — including having multiples, like Beyonce — but you can reduce the risk by losing weight if you are overweight, not smoking anything, getting your blood pressure under control if you have chronic high levels, exercising regularly and, if you have a high-risk pregnancy, taking an 81-milligram aspirin daily after your 12th week.
Early diagnosis and treatment can control preeclampsia and help assure you and your baby will be healthy for years to come. That’s why it is so important for all pregnant women to have regular prenatal doctor’s visits to check your blood pressure and urine protein levels, as well as a Doppler scan that measures blood flow to the placenta.