What Is Preeclampsia When You Re Pregnant

How Long Will My Pre

What Are The Early Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy : Patient Education

After your baby is born, many of your symptoms of pre-eclampsia will improve, but it can take several days, and sometimes longer, until everything returns to normal. Some of your blood tests may get worse for a day or two before they get better. High blood pressure can continue up to 3 months after your baby is born.

High Blood Pressure Vs Preeclampsia

It is possible to have high blood pressure in pregnancy and not have preeclampsia. Some women have chronic hypertension prior to getting pregnant. Some women also develop mildly elevated blood pressure during pregnancy without ever getting the other symptoms of preeclampsia . However, in both of these cases, a woman is at greater risk for developing preeclampsia and should be monitored very closely.

What Is Preeclampsia Risks Symptoms And Treatment

  • Preeclampsia is a type of hypertensive disorder that occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy and affects about 5% of women.
  • Developing preeclampsia while pregnant can be dangerous to the health of you and your baby.
  • Warning signs that you may have preeclampsia include severe headaches, blurry visions, pain in your upper abdomen, confusion, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
  • This article was reviewed by Jane van Dis, MD, a board-certified OB-GYN and medical director of the Maven Clinic.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When you’re pregnant, it can feel like there’s so much to learn: Why you should steer clear of certain foods, what happens during labor, how to prep for when the baby actually arrives.

While you might not want to add something else to the list, there’s one serious condition that’s smart to have on your radar: Preeclampsia, formerly called toxemia.

Developing preeclampsia while pregnant can be dangerous for your baby and you. For babies, it can lead to growth restriction, preterm delivery, or even stillbirth, says Sandy Dorcelus, MD, an OB-GYN at NYU Winthrop Hospital.

For you, preeclampsia puts you at risk of developing potentially life-threatening conditions such as:

Don’t Miss: Will You Still Have Period Symptoms If You Are Pregnant

Who Is Most At Risk

We see preeclampsia more commonly among younger pregnant patients, for example in teen pregnancies, and in patients who become pregnant after 40 years old. Preeclampsia can occur more often in a first pregnancy or if the patient had preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy or is carrying multiples .

Other risk factors include chronic health conditions such as hypertension , heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease.

Black and Latina women also are disproportionately affected by preeclampsia. Unfortunately, we dont know if thats related to a genetic predisposition, underlying medical issues, or poor access to care. The reasons are still unclear.

Risk Factors For Preeclampsia


Some women are more likely to develop preeclampsia than others. Common risk factors include:

  • Age Older age is related to higher preeclampsia risks. Studies show that women over 35 are 4.5 times more likely to suffer from preeclampsia than women between 25 and 29.

  • Race African American women are 60% more likely to develop preeclampsia than white women are.

  • Obesity Studies show that excessive weight gain both before and during pregnancy can increase the risk of pre-eclampsia.

  • In-vitro fertilization Studies show that women who have had IVF are six times more likely to develop preeclampsia than other pregnant women.

  • Multifetal pregnancy If you are carrying more than one baby, your chances of developing preeclampsia increase. One study showed that women with multifetal pregnancies develop preeclampsia more than five times as often as women with singleton pregnancies.

Other risk factors include a history of high blood pressure, preeclampsia, kidney disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Preeclampsia usually goes away after a woman gives birth. However, those women who suffer from this condition during pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing kidney disease, heart problems, and high blood pressure issues later in life.

Recommended Reading: Is It Possible To Get Pregnant With Tubes Tied

Will Gestational Hypertension Go Away After Pregnancy

Blood pressure often increases in the weeks following pregnancy, so doctors usually have women with gestational hypertension continue to monitor their levels at home. For most women, blood pressure levels gradually return to normal in the weeks and months after.

Doctors may recommend that women with high blood pressure make changes to their diets and physical activity levels to decrease the risk of chronic hypertension.

Life After A Preeclampsia Diagnosis

If you’ve had preeclampsia, let your primary care provider know and get regular checkups to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. Although Dr. Seely notes that more research is needed to find out whether women who have had preeclampsia require more individualized treatments, it doesn’t hurt to adopt the same healthy behaviors as would anyone trying to lower her cardiovascular disease risk:

  • Get to or maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Follow a healthy diet, such as the DASH diet, which has been clinically proven to lower blood pressure

Also Check: How To Maximize Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant

What Is Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a condition that affects your body’s ability to turn glucose into energy. To produce energy, your pancreas creates a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps glucose enter cells and turn into energy.

When you are pregnant, your body’s hormonal balance changes. Due to this, your cells may not use insulin as effectively as they should. This is called insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance calls for your body to produce more insulin. Some women manage to make enough insulin to handle the resistance. Others develop gestational diabetes.

Risk factors for this type of diabetes are:

  • Excess weight or obesity

  • Cerebral symptoms

  • Vision problems

This condition develops after the 20th week of pregnancy and typically goes away after a woman gives birth.

If not treated, preeclampsia puts serious strain on your heart and other organs. It can affect the blood supply to the placenta and may lead to pre-term birth.

In the United States, preeclampsia causes around 15% of pre-term deliveries³ . In the world, it’s the leading cause of maternal and perinatal mortality.

Preeclampsia And Gestational Diabetes

What should I eat if I have preeclampsia? | Nourish with Melanie #67

Gestational diabetes and preeclampsia have numerous similarities. Both of them:

  • Are dangerous health conditions that develop in the second half of the pregnancy

  • Require close monitoring and treatment

  • Usually, go away after a woman gives birth

  • Carry risks of developing related conditions in the future

  • Have similar risk factors

  • Have many similar symptoms

  • May result in premature birth or stillbirth

These two conditions are closely related to each other. Gestational diabetes increases the risk of preeclampsia since high glucose levels can cause high blood pressure.

Recommended Reading: What Are Some Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Preeclampsia With Severe Signs Or Symptoms

Women who have severe signs or symptoms of preeclampsia usually need to be admitted to the hospital to stabilize their condition. If they are at least 34 weeks pregnant, doctors may induce labor as soon as they are stable. Women will receive an IV before and after delivery, and a C-section may be necessary if complications arise during labor.

When severe symptoms happen prior to 34 weeks, doctors may prescribe corticosteroids and closely monitor the womans condition. If at any time, they believe her life to be in danger, emergency induction or C-section may be necessary.

What Is Postpartum Preeclampsia

Postpartum preeclampsia is when you develop preeclampsia after your baby is born. It typically happens within two days of giving birth but can also develop several weeks later. The signs of postpartum preeclampsia are similar to preeclampsia and include swelling in your limbs and extremities, headaches, seeing spots, stomach pains and nausea. It’s a serious condition that can cause seizures, stroke and organ damage.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Preeclampsia is a serious condition that you may not be aware you even have. It’s important to go to all your prenatal appointments and be open about all the symptoms you feel during pregnancy. When preeclampsia is caught early, it can be treated and managed to keep both you and your baby safe and healthy. Most people with preeclampsia go on to have healthy babies.

Also Check: Has Anyone Gotten Pregnant On Nexplanon

If You Have Preeclampsia Can You Have A Vaginal Birth

Yes. If you have preeclampsia, a vaginal birth may be better than a cesarean birth . A c-section is surgery in which your baby is born through a cut that your doctor makes in your belly and uterus. With vaginal birth, there’s no stress from surgery. For most women with preeclampsia, its safe have an epidural to manage labor pain as long as your blood clots normally. An epidural is pain medicine you get through a tube in your lower back that helps numb your lower body during labor. It’s the most common kind of pain relief during labor.

Preventing And Managing Preeclampsia

Pin on Home remedies

Unfortunately, since doctors still dont know what causes preeclampsia, there isnt much pregnant people can do to avoid it. However, if a patient is at an elevated risk of developing the condition, their health care provider might put them on baby aspirin.

In someone whos at high risk for preeclampsia, baby aspirin has been shown in certain patients to help prevent it, or at least delay its onset, explains Dr. Friedman, Many patients with a history of preeclampsia, chronic hypertension, or obesity will be placed on this medication by their obstetrician.

Its important to note, however, that even low-dose aspirin is not considered safe to take during pregnancy, so you should not be taking it unless your doctor specifically tells you to and is closely monitoring you and your baby.

Even though there isnt any proven way to prevent preeclampsia, take comfort in knowing that the condition doesnt always end in complications. With proper care, it can be managed without any harm to the birthing parent or baby.

The management of a patient with preeclampsia will depend on the gestational age at which its diagnosed and how severe the blood pressure changes and other findings are, says Dr. Friedman. Some conservative management methods Dr. Whelan and Dr. Friedman say are common include:

  • Blood pressure medications
  • Intravenous magnesium sulfate
  • Modified bed rest

Read Also: What Face Wash Can I Use While Pregnant

What Are The Symptoms Of Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a serious blood pressure disorder that affects the organs of a pregnant woman. The symptoms may appear as early as 20 weeks of pregnancy. Although these symptoms often resolve themselves, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If left untreated, it can cause serious health complications for both the mother and the baby.

Women experiencing preeclampsia symptoms should see their doctor regularly for prenatal care. If they begin to have any severe symptoms, they should visit the hospital immediately. Here are some common symptoms of preeclampsia.

After Preeclampsia: Another Pregnancy Or Not

If youre one of the thousands of women who experienced severe preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome, then you probably have more questions than answers about deciding whether to get pregnant again.

It can take time to recover from any pregnancy that didnt go as planned, but especially a potentially traumatic experience like preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome. You may have experienced fear, grief, NICU time, complications with your own health, or the death of your baby.

If youre thinking about becoming pregnant again after experiencing a poor outcome in a previous pregnancy, you may have some concerns. Here’s what you can expect:

If you had preeclampsia in your first or an earlier pregnancy…

Research suggests the risk of having preeclampsia again is approximately 20%, however experts cite a range from 5% to 80% depending on when you had it in a prior pregnancy, how severe it was, and additional risk factors you may have.

The most significant risk factors for preeclampsia are:

If you had preeclampsia during your first pregnancy, you may get it again. While repeat occurrence is often less severe, no one can predict for sure. If you’ve had preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy, you and your healthcare provider should carefully monitor you and your baby during your current pregnancy for any signs or symptoms.

If you had preeclampsia in a first pregnancy, but not a second…

If you have been advised against getting pregnant again…

Other options

Also Check: How To Tell How Far You Are In Pregnancy

Effects Of Preeclampsia On The Mother

Preeclampsia may develop at any time during the second half of pregnancy, but commonly develops during the later stages of pregnancy. Preeclampsia most commonly causes high blood pressure and protein in the urine. The seriousness of the disease is decided by the level of the blood pressure. In its mildest form, protein will show in a urine test and blood pressure may be only slightly raised. However, preeclampsia can become very serious. At its most serious, blood pressure can be very high and other body organs are affected such as the kidneys, liver, brain and blood . If left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious problems such as: fitting or convulsions, kidney failure, liver failure, clotting problems or death. All forms of preeclampsia need to be treated.

What Causes Chronic Hypertension

Prevent Toxemia – Preeclampsia in Pregnancy Dr.Berg

When chronic hypertension occurs on its own, doctors typically cant identify a single cause. Genetics, environment and lifestyle usually play a role. You can also develop chronic hypertension due to other medical conditions, such as kidney disease, thyroid disease, diabetes or sleep apnea. Risk factors for chronic hypertension include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Taking certain medications

You May Like: How Soon Can I Tell Im Pregnant

Will Preeclampsia Go Away After Pregnancy

In rare cases, preeclampsia develops after pregnancy. This is called postpartum preeclampsia. Normally, it happens within 48 hours of childbirth but it can occur up to 6 weeks after childbirth. Doctors usually treat postpartum preeclampsia with blood pressure and anti-seizure medications.

For most women, preeclampsia resolves within 6 weeks after delivery. Doctors usually have new mothers track their blood pressure levels at home and continue with regular visits until the condition resolves. Once blood pressure levels return to normal, they may discuss lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of chronic hypertension.

How To Treat Preeclampsia

“Treatment of the condition is delivery,” says Dorcelus.

However, if you aren’t close to your due date and don’t have severe symptoms, management might include blood pressure medications, weekly fetal testing and close monitoring to make sure things aren’t getting worse, she says.

If you develop preeclampsia after giving birth, postpartum treatment is magnesium and hospitalization.

You May Like: Is It Okay To Have Cramps During Early Pregnancy

Preeclampsia: Symptoms Causes Treatments Risk Factors & Prevention


Preeclampsia is a serious condition that develops in pregnant women. Nearly 1 out of every 25 pregnant women suffer from this complication.

Women with this condition have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease after delivery. They should check their blood pressure yearly to ensure it stays within normal limits.

Other preventive measures include maintaining a healthy weight, limiting salt and alcohol consumption, and regular exercise. Educating yourself about preeclampsia and risk factors will help you prepare for the delivery process.

The prevention of this condition includes close monitoring of your health and your baby. This may include ultrasounds, blood tests, and non-stress tests.

Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may recommend bed rest. A doctor may also recommend early delivery, as preeclampsia can get worse during the delivery process.

In this article, we will discuss preeclampsia: symptoms, causes, treatments, risk factors & prevention.

In this Article

Who’s At Risk Of Preeclampsia

Pin on NSG412

Over the last 20 years, the rate of preeclampsia in the US has jumped 25 percent, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology .

One possible explanation for why is because certain risk factors have become more prevalent, like maternal age, obesity, and vascular diseases, according to a 2016 review published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

More specifically, Dorcelus says risk factors include:

  • Being over the age of 35
  • A high pre-pregnancy BMI
  • It being your first pregnancy
  • Chronic high blood pressure
  • Having already had preeclampsia in the past

You May Like: How To Avoid Nausea In Pregnancy

What Are The Risks Of Chronic Hypertension

When not properly controlled, chronic hypertension increases the risk of:

  • Problems with concentrating and thinking

Additional risks of chronic hypertension during pregnancy include:

  • Placental abruption, where the placenta separates from the uterus
  • Needing to undergo a C-section
  • Low birth weight because the fetus doesnt receive enough blood through the placenta

How Is Severe Preeclampsia Treated

If you have severe preeclampsia, you most likely stay in the hospital so your provider can closely monitor you and your baby. Your provider may treat you with medicines called antenatal corticosteroids . These medicines help speed up your babys lung development. You also may get medicine to control your blood pressure and medicine to prevent seizures .

If your condition gets worse, it may be safer for you and your baby to give birth early. Most babies of moms with severe preeclampsia before 34 weeks of pregnancy do better in the hospital than by staying in the womb. If youre at least 34 weeks pregnant, your provider may recommend that you have your baby as soon as your condition is stable. Your provider may induce your labor, or you may have a c-section. If youre not yet 34 weeks pregnant but you and your baby are stable, you may be able to wait to have your baby.

If you have severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome, you almost always need to give birth early. HELLP syndrome is a rare but life-threatening liver disorder. About 2 in 10 women with severe preeclampsia develop HELLP syndrome. You may need medicine to control your blood pressure and prevent seizures. Some women may need blood transfusions. A blood transfusion means you have new blood put into your body.

Recommended Reading: Does Dark Pee Mean Pregnancy

Related Posts

Recent Stories