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What is preeclampsia? Symptoms, causes + facts every pregnant mama needs to know

Preeclampsia is a condition that only occurs in pregnancy and happens in about 3 to 5 percent of pregnancies. It usually develops after the 20-week mark. The hallmark of pre- eclampsia is elevated blood pressure along with protein in your urine. The protein is detected by a quick pee-in-a-cup test at your provider's office, or possibly by a 24-hour urine collection.


The normal blood pressure of a pregnant woman should be around 120/80. The severity of preeclampsia depends on the specific blood pressure numbers (abnormal blood pressures need to be present twice, at least 4 hours apart, to confirm diagnosis) and whether or not other concerning factors are present (such as other symptoms or worrisome blood tests). Your provider will make this diagnosis.

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There are many theories about what causes preeclampsia; unfortunately, we're still not exactly sure of the cause. However, scientists have discovered that there is a connection to proteins made and released into the woman's bloodstream by her placenta. There are a few factors that increase the risk of developing this condition:

  • History of high blood pressure prior to pregnancy
  • First pregnancies
  • Women with a family history of preeclampsia
  • Women who have had preeclampsia in the past
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Women with a BMI over 30
  • Women under the age of 20 or over the age of 40
  • New sperm source (that is, a new partner or sperm donor)

In many cases, women find out they have preeclampsia at a regular prenatal appointment when their blood pressure is found to be high. There are some symptoms to look out for, including:

  • Headaches
  • Changes in your vision
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sharp pain in your upper right belly
  • Difficulty breathing (call 911 in this case)
  • Decreased urine

If you have any of these symptoms, call your provider right away. Preeclampsia can cause damage to a woman's kidneys, liver, and other organs. It can also affect the placenta, which could cause harm to the baby. In extremely rare cases, preeclampsia can evolve into eclampsia, where a woman experiences seizures. In rare instances, women can also develop HELLP syndrome (see page 461).

The only cure for preeclampsia is giving birth. Some women may be given medication to control their blood pressure, but this won't cure the condition. Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, you may be given steroids to help your baby's lungs develop faster, so they're ready to be born sooner. You and your medical team may decide that it's safer for the baby to be born than to continue the pregnancy with preeclampsia.

Your baby may need to spend some time in the NICU if they are born early. In severe cases of preeclampsia, in order to prevent seizures, women are given a medication through an IV called magnesium sulfate before and during labor, as well as for the first day after. Magnesium sulfate can make you feel pretty crummy, unfortunately, but your nurses and provider will be keeping a very close eye on you to make sure you're safe.

One note: It is possible to have a totally normal pregnancy and develop postpartum preeclampsia, or extended episodes of high blood pressure after you give birth. It usually occurs within 48 hours of giving birth, though it can happen up to 6 weeks after. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, call your provider immediately.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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