Preeclampsia is defined as a condition starting after 20 weeks of pregnancy that causes high blood pressure and problems with the kidneys and other organs. It was formerly called toxemia.
- What is it?
- A problem of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, excessive swelling, and headaches.
- Why is it bad?
- It can cause maternal seizures, liver and renal failure, decreased fetal growth, and maternal and fetal death.
- Who gets it?
- Anyone who is pregnant. Obesity, pre-pregnancy high blood pressure, diabetes, first pregnancy, being younger than 18 years old, being older than 40 years old.
- What are the symptoms?
- Headaches that won’t go away, blurry vision, or pain in the upper part of your abdomen.
- What can be done about it?
- You may be started on medicine to lower your blood pressure or prevent seizures. You may be admitted to the hospital for treatment. Ultimately, the only “cure” for preeclampsia is delivery which may be preterm.
- Can it be prevented?
- Not really, but after the first trimester, taking a baby aspirin a day may prevent preeclampsia.
- What should I do if I have symptoms?
- Call your obstetric provider immediately for an appointment.
For more information on preeclampsia, visit our High Risk Pregnancy Clinic.