11 Common Symptoms of Stroke During and after Pregnancy

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Neurological deficits, headache, seizures, blurry vision, dizziness, lethargy, difficulty in breathing, numbness, general weakness, hallucinations and irritability are some of the common symptoms of stroke during and after pregnancy.

The symptoms of a stroke during or after pregnancy are somewhat similar to the symptoms of any other stroke. Although, there are still a number of symptoms of stroke that are specifically related to pregnancy. Women who suffer from high blood pressure problems, autoimmune disease, heart disease and blood clotting problems are at higher risk of developing stroke during or after pregnancy.

A stroke basically occurs when the blood flow to the brain stops, causing the brain cells to die. As per the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NNDS), one can prevent long-term disability or death, if immediate medical help is sought within an hour a stroke has occurred. In this article, we will look at a few of those symptoms that are particularly related to a pregnant woman.

11 Warning Signs and Symptoms of Stroke During and after Pregnancy 

stroke

Neurological deficits

Trouble speaking, sensory loss, weakness on one side of the body, trouble understanding language, loss of coordination can be caused by a stroke. These symptoms may occur in any combination, signalling that a stroke is either likely to happen or is occurring at that very moment. In such a case, you must seek immediate medical help.

Headache

One of the main symptoms that is caused by CVT is, headache. However, these are not like the regular headaches and are much more intense and last much longer. In case, the headache is accompanied by numbness, weakness or double vision, it is important that you seek immediate medical help. There is also another type of headache, i.e. thunderclap headache that should not be neglected. This occurs suddenly and feels particularly intense. You should reach out to an emergency room if you have such a headache.

Seizures

This can be the first sign of a stroke. The brain injury of a stroke can lead to seizure, which can be a symptom of RPLS and haemorrhagic strokes. Both of these can happen due to the sudden and extreme high blood pressure during a high-risk pregnancy.

Blurry vision

The occipital lobe is located in the back area of the brain and is responsible for processing the sense of vision. It is because of this that the high blood pressure in a pregnant woman can lead to blurry vision. Reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS) is to be mainly held responsible for this.

Dizziness

One should not always be concerned about this symptom of stroke. However, if dizziness is accompanied by vision changes, vomiting, loss of balance or slurred speech, it may be the sign of a stroke and calls for medical emergency.

Lethargy

One is likely to experience extreme confusion as well as sleepiness that can be a result of severe bleeding or swelling inside the brain. This can mainly happen due to CVT, RPLS, high blood pressure and other forms of stroke in pregnancy.

Difficulty in breathing

Difficulty in breathing can either develop gradually or come on suddenly. There can be a number of conditions that may lead to this condition, for instance stress or anxiety. If you note frequent episode of shortness of breath, it is important for you to consult a doctor as this may be a sign of a serious health issue.

Numbness

A burning sensation, pain, unusual sensations and loss of sensitivity can be felt in different parts of the arms and legs or throughout the limbs. This can most commonly be associated with some type of irritation, compression or nerve damage. Also, if it is accompanied with facial drooping, confused thinking, difficulty speaking and numbness on one side, one should seek immediate medical attention.

Hallucinations

Hallucinations can be a result of some sort of mental illness, physical illness like alcoholism or side effect of medications. These are basically the sensations that are created by our mind but appear to be real. This can negatively affect the vision, taste, smell, bodily sensations or smell.

Irritability

Psychological causes, medical conditions, physical causes or side effect of medication can all result into irritability. In case, your feelings of irritability are accompanied by racing heart, sweating, anger, fast breathing, confusion, bot flashes, reduce sex drive, hair loss, and fever, you must consult a doctor.

General weakness

While some people experience weakness only in certain parts of their body, others may experience full body weakness. It can also be chronic in some of the cases. One may also experience other symptoms in addition to this such as breathing problems, irregular heartbeat or pain. Thus, if you experience sudden weakness, contact your doctor.

How can you keep your baby healthy?

  • By maintaining a healthy body weight, you will have a healthier blood pressure and blood sugar levels during pregnancy.
  • Consult your doctor about your possible risk for stroke during pregnancy.
  • Avoid smoking as that can significantly increase your risk of getting a stroke during or after pregnancy.
  • Fruits, nuts, veggies, healthy fats, grains and food low in sodium will help to maintain a healthy blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

Conclusion

Most of the symptoms of stroke during pregnancy are same as that faced by the general public. However, it is recommended not to avoid any of these symptoms, especially during pregnancy. Also, a pregnant woman should know about her risk factors for a stroke and aim for a healthy lifestyle to avoid any problems for herself or for her baby.

References

http://www.strokebestpractices.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/CSBPR_SiP-Prevention-Module-EN-FINAL-24NOV2017-1.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3137888/

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women and Healthy Babies!!

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