Image of a pregnant woman laying in bed with a blood pressure cuff around her arm.Preeclampsia is seen in about 5 percent of all pregnancies and occurs when you develop dangerously high blood pressure. It can be life-threatening for both mother and child if left untreated.

Symptoms can include a persistent headache, abnormal swelling in the hands and face, sudden weight gain, changes in vision and pain in the right upper abdomen. But you may not notice any symptoms and that’s why early and consistent prenatal care can help your doctor diagnose preeclampsia sooner and avoid complications.

What Causes Preeclampsia?

The cause of preeclampsia is still a mystery, but researchers think it could be linked to blood vessel problems or autoimmune disorders. Factors associated with preeclampsia include a pregnancy with multiple fetuses; being in your early teens or over the age of 35 or having a first pregnancy. Obesity and a history of high blood pressure, diabetes or a kidney disorder are also risk factors.

How is Preeclampsia Treated?

The recommended treatment for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby because this usually prevents the disease from progressing. Most women with preeclampsia will return to normal blood pressure readings 48 hours after delivery.

If you’re at week 37 or later, your doctor may induce labor because the baby has developed enough and isn’t considered premature. If your pregnancy hasn’t reached the 37th week you may be admitted to the hospital for intravenous medications to lower your blood pressure or steroid injections to help your baby’s lungs develop quicker.

How Do You Recover from Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia symptoms should end once the baby is delivered but in some cases, blood pressure can become elevated again a few days after delivery. That’s why close follow-up care with your doctor and regular blood pressure checks are important after delivery of your baby.

How Can You Prevent Preeclampsia?

The best way to reduce your risk of preeclampsia is to eat a healthy diet during pregnancy, take prenatal vitamins with folic acid and keep your appointments for regular prenatal care checkups. You can also talk with your doctor about risk factors and they may refer you to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist for additional care.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax