What is Preeclampsia?

May 24, 2024

World Preeclampsia Day, observed annually on May 22nd, aims to raise crucial awareness about preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening pregnancy complication.

About Preeclampsia: 

  • It is a serious condition that can happen after the 20th week of pregnancy or after giving birth (called postpartum preeclampsia).
  • Most people who have preeclampsia have dangerously high blood pressureand may have problems with their kidneys or liver.
    • High blood pressure (also called hypertension) can stress the heart and cause problems during pregnancy.
  • What causes preeclampsia? It is believed to come from a problem with the health of the placenta (the organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy and is responsible for providing oxygen and nutrients to the fetus). 
  • Symptoms:
    • Many people with preeclampsia do not have any symptoms.
    • For those that do, some of the first signs of preeclampsia are high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and retaining water (this can cause weight gain and swelling).
    • Other signs of preeclampsia include Headaches, Blurry vision or light sensitivity, Dark spots appearing in your vision, Right side abdominal pain, Swelling in your hands and face (edema), and Shortness of breath.
  • While most people who have preeclampsia have healthy babies, this condition can cause serious problems.
    • It can also affect other organs in the body and be dangerous for both the mom and her developing fetus.
    • It can cause preterm delivery and even death.
  • Treatment:
    • The only cure for preeclampsia is to give birth.
    • Even after delivery, symptoms of preeclampsia can last 6 weeks or more.
    • Treatment, if necessary, is based on how far along the pregnancy is, and may include induced labor or a Caesarean section (C-section).