May 20, 2009

Pregnancy And Swollen Hands

Posted in Category : Women's Health

This condition could be due to a variety of causes, most of them will point to some form of hypertension occurring due to the effect of hormones, drugs and some complications. One of these complications; however, is a very serious one for which there is not cure and could prove fatal, called pre-eclampsia. In this disease, hypertension in the pregnant mother causes edema or swelling of the hands, feet and face, if these symptoms are seen along with gastric pain and convulsions, the prevalence can finally be confirmed by urine tests. Urine test would show a high concentration of protein in the urine.

This condition is caused by a process called the parent-offspring conflict and has many manifestations in hypoxia also known as reduced blood flow of the placenta. This also causes damage to the maternal endothelium a lining of the blood vessels. The parent-offspring conflict is basically a battle of genes that has effects in triggering the autoimmune response of the mother. The theory that guides this lies in the fact that a developing fetus carries the genetic information of both parents. This then becomes a foreign body within the mother and this poses problems for the mother’s body as the immune system cannot distinguish it from a pathogen or even a cancer. The autoimmune response of the mother then takes over and the fetal tissue and placenta are marked for destruction within the womb. Pre-eclampsia has been the reason for many miscarriages and cannot be treated by any drugs. The only way this condition can be alleviated is by an abortion if the fetus cannot be delivered by inducing pregnancy. This would probably involve a delivery in the third trimester or the 8th month of pregnancy. Curiously, the condition could also occur even after delivery within a 48 hour window.

Studies that have been conducted on the prevalence of pre-eclampsia have thrown some startling findings about the human autoimmune response and also on how human sexual behavior can alter the development of a fetus in the womb. Pre-eclampsia has been touted as the immune response that attacks the presence of the genes of the father of the fetus. In a normal human situation, this can be seen happening by organs being rejected after transplants. Studies found that repeated exposure to the father’s semen reduced the rejection significantly. Curiously enough, oral ingestion was found in studies to greatly improve the chances of avoiding pre-eclampsia.