What is pre-eclampsia?

January 17, 2015

Pre-eclampsia is a very serious pregnancy complication, affecting 5 - 10% of all pregnancies in Australia.  The exact causes of pre-eclampsia are unknown but the placenta and genetic factors are strongly thought to influence its development.

 

Pre-eclampsia generally develops in the latter stages of pregnancy.  In some cases women may have no symptoms or experience symptoms that can be commonplace in pregnancy such as increased swelling.  Therefore, it is important that you have regular antenatal check ups.

 

However, some of the so called classic signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia can be:

  • increased blood pressure,

  • protein in your urine

  • swelling of the hands and face

Therefore, it is important for you to notify your obstetric health provider if you start to experience any of these symptoms.

 

Other symptoms in severe cases may include dizziness, headache, altered vision, abdominal pain and nausea/vomiting.

 

Who might be at risk?

  • first time mothers

  • women with a history or family history of pre-eclampsia

  • multiple pregnancies i.e. twins, triplets

  • people with a history of high blood pressure

  • people with diabetes

 

The only cure for pre-eclampsia is delivery of the baby and the placenta.

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