Preeclampsia and eclampsia are serious conditions that occur during pregnancy when you have elevated blood pressures and protein in your urine. You may experience headaches, abdominal pain or visual disturbances.
If left untreated, preeclampsia can be dangerous for you and your baby and can lead to eclampsia—a serious condition that, in rare cases, can cause death. Complications caused by preeclampsia include:
If you have uncontrolled preeclampsia, your baby is at a higher risk of being born prematurely and suffering from related complications such as learning disabilities, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, hearing problems and vision impairment.
You may be at a higher risk of developing preeclampsia in your first pregnancy. Other risk factors include being pregnant as a teenager or over 40 or having certain conditions such as:
Also called toxemia or pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia is marked by several symptoms, including:
If you experience these symptoms, it is important to see your physician right away. It is also important to see your physician for regular prenatal exams to ensure that your blood pressure and urine tests are normal. Preeclampsia is easier to manage when it is detected in its early stages.
The only way to cure preeclampsia is to deliver your baby. Your physician will recommend the best course of treatment after assessing your condition and your baby’s health.
If your baby is close to full term (37 weeks gestation or more), your physician may recommend inducing labor or performing a cesarean section (C-section). If your baby is not close to full term, your physician may suggest:
Talk to your doctor if you have questions about pregnancy complications.
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