Pre-eclampsia, everything you need to know.

I was incredibly fortunate to have 4 extremely healthy and easy pregnancies. Of course I had the general aches and pains every one suffers from but my blood pressure was fine, I never had extreme morning sickness or anything else really but it is not the same for everyone. So I have  series of posts coming up about the conditions you can suffer from during pregnancy as well as the tests you can have done to pick up any of these issues. 

If you are pregnant or trying to fall pregnant, you may have heard the term pre-eclampsia. You may also know that it can be a serious condition but do you know exactly what it is, who is at risk and if anything can be done to prevent it?Pre-eclampsia|HarassedMom

What is pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia is a disorder in pregnant women that is characterised by high blood pression and high levels of protein in urine. It is a rare condition but world-wide over 4.1 million women suffer from pre-eclampsia. The exact cause of this condition is unknown.

Who is at risk of pre-eclampsia

The following conditions increase a woman’s risk of developing pre-eclampsia.

  • Family history of the condition or a previous pre-eclampsia affected pregnancy.
  • Pre-existing high blood pressure, renal disease or obesity
  • If the mother is over 40 years of age or younger than 18.

These conditions may increase a woman’s changes of developing pre-eclampsia but they are not exact predictions.

What are some of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia

  • High blood pressure and increased levels of protein in urine.
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision

If you are pregnant and are suffering from any of these conditions, it is vital that you see your doctor immediately.

Screening for pre-eclampsia

Screening for this condition is simple and non-invasive and can be done during a check-up with your healthcare provider. The point of this screening is to determine the risk the mother has to develop pre-eclampsia during her pregnancy.

The screening involves a blood test, blood pressure measure, urine test and an ultrasound. The following biomarkers should also be done, PIGF (placental growth factor) and PAPP-A (Pregnancy Associated Plasma Protein A) Early detection is essential which is why these tests need to be done before the 16th week of pregnancy, ideally it should be done in weeks 10 -13.

 If the results of the testing show that the woman is at high risk of pre-eclampsia, their doctor is able to prescribe and monitor preventative measures.


Pre-eclampsia cannot be cured with medication but it can be treated and managed which is why early detection is so important.

Administering low dose aspirin before 16 weeks of pregnancy can reduce the incidence of pre-eclampsia. This treatment must be prescribed and monitored by your doctor.

If you are concerned about anything during your pregnancy please contact your health care provider. This post was approved by a health care professional but does not take the place of a diagnosis.

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