What Is Preeclampsia : Preeclampsia Awareness Month 2022

Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy. With preeclampsia, you might have high blood pressure, high levels of protein in urine that indicate kidney damage (proteinuria), or other signs of organ damage. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had previously been in the standard range.

Left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious — even fatal — complications for both the mother and baby.

Delivery of the baby is usually recommended. The timing of delivery depends on how severe the preeclampsia is and how many weeks pregnant you are. Before delivery, preeclampsia treatment includes careful monitoring and medications to lower blood pressure and manage complications.

Preeclampsia may develop after delivery of a baby, a condition known as postpartum preeclampsia.


Along with high blood pressure, preeclampsia signs and symptoms may include:

  • Excess protein in urine (proteinuria) or other signs of kidney problems
  • Decreased levels of platelets in blood (thrombocytopenia)
  • Increased liver enzymes that indicate liver problems
  • Severe headaches
  • Changes in vision, including temporary loss of vision, blurred vision or light sensitivity
  • Shortness of breath, caused by fluid in the lungs
  • Pain in the upper belly, usually under the ribs on the right side
  • Nausea or vomiting

Preeclampsia Risk Factors

Things that can increase your chance of getting preeclampsia include:

  • Being a teen or woman over 40
  • Being African American
  • Being pregnant for the first time
  • Having babies less than 2 years apart or more than 10 years apart
  • Pregnancy with a new partner instead of the father of your previous children
  • High blood pressure before getting pregnant
  • A history of preeclampsia
  • A mother or sister who had preeclampsia
  • A history of obesity
  • Carrying more than one baby
  • In-vitro fertilization
  • A history of diabetes, kidney disease, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis

Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/preeclampsia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355745