Preeclampsia (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension)…

What is Preeclampsia? Preeclampsia is a pregnancy condition in which high blood pressure and proteinuria develop in the late 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy

Exact cause is unknown. Suggested causes:
•Autoimmune disorders
•Blood vessel pathology involving the placenta
•Diet of the mother
•Genetically predisposed

Risk Factors:
•First pregnancy History (first vs. previous pregnancies, multiply pregnancies)
•Older than age 35
•Family/Past history of diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney disease

• High blood pressure (>140/90 mm/Hg)
• Proteinuria
• Often, women who are diagnosed with preeclampsia do not feel sick.

Symptoms of preeclampsia can include:
•Edema in the hands and face
•Weight gain

More severe symptoms include:
• Headaches
• upper right quadrant abdominal pain
• Decreased urination
• Nausea and vomiting

The only way to truly alleviate preeclampsia is to deliver the baby when the baby is developed enough (usually after 36 weeks of gestation)

If the baby is underdeveloped, the management of preeclampsia takes place. This may include:
• Bed rest
• Increased water intake of the mother
• Antihypertensive therapy in cases of severe hypertension (BP: >160/110 mm/Hg)

If not closely monitored preeclampsia can develop into eclampsia.

Other complications include:
•Bleeding problems
•Premature separation of the placenta from the uterus before the baby is born (placental abruption)
•Rupture of the liver
•Death (rarely)

(Note: These complications are very unusual)

See also Preeclampsia Video and Preeclampsia in Pregnant Teens

Pubmed Health
Preeclampsia by Steegers et al.
Preeclampsia and Stroke during and after Pregnancy by Bushnell et al.

According to the U.S. National Hospital Discharge Survey, the incidence of pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), also called pre-eclampsia, is increase by twofold in pregnant adolescence in comparison to mature women (ages 30-34) (Saftlas et al., 1990). PIH can lead to placental abruption, maternal renal failure and cerebral hemorrhage (Cunningham et al., 1989). Routine prenatal care allows the physician to keep track of your blood pressure and urine levels to detect PIH early and prevent any serious complications.

…return to Medical Complications