What is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia (or toxemia) causes high blood pressure during pregnancy. Protein is also found in the urine. Sometimes a woman has swelling due to fluid retention. Eclampsia is the more severe form of this problem. It can lead to seizures, coma, or even death.

The cause of preeclampsia is unknown. But it is more common in first pregnancies. It affects about 5% to 8% of all pregnant women. Other risk factors for preeclampsia include:

  • A woman carrying multiple fetuses
  • A teenage mother
  • A woman older than 40
  • A woman with high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease before she became pregnant
  • History of thrombophilia or lupus
  • History of an in vitro pregnancy
  • A woman who is obese with a BMI greater than 30

Symptoms may include severe swelling of the hands and face, high blood pressure, headache, dizziness, irritability, decreased urine output, belly pain, and blurred vision. Treatment will vary based on the severity of the condition and the stage of the pregnancy. Treatment may include a hospital stay, bed rest, medicine to lower blood pressure, and close monitoring of both the fetus and the mother.

Learn More About Preeclampsia

How Much Do You Know About Preeclampsia?

Developing high blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy or right after pregnancy may signal a condition called preeclampsia. If not treated, this condition may threaten both mother and child. Fortunately, preeclampsia is easily found during routine prenatal care visits. Plus, close monitoring can help women who develop it stay healthy and deliver healthy babies. To learn the facts, test your knowledge with this quiz.

Northside Hospital Maternal Heart Health Clinic

NHCC is home to the Northside Hospital Maternal Heart Health Clinic, where our experts focus on educating and providing comprehensive care for women with preeclampsia.

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Call us to request an appointment with one of our expert providers. 404-303-3320