Preeclampsia is a severe complication that develops during pregnancy. It is associated with high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine. It usually develops after the 20th week of pregnancy and affects the organs of the mother and the developing fetus.

What are the Symptoms of Preeclampsia?

The primary symptoms observed in preeclampsia are high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine. Along with these, some other symptoms are also observed, which are listed below:

  • Low platelet count in blood
  • Increased level of liver enzymes
  • Severe headaches
  • Temporary changes in vision
  • Severe mood swings
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Decreased urine production
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Swelling on hands, legs, and face

Raised blood pressure puts stress on the heart and other body organs. Typically, the symptoms go away after delivery.

What is the Cause of Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia may be caused due to multiple factors. Blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the placenta develop during early pregnancy. These blood vessels are not fully developed in the case of preeclampsia and lead to irregular blood circulation. It is more common in first-time mothers.  Other causes observed are:

  • Gestational hypertension - High blood pressure that begins 20 weeks after pregnancy but does not have any effect on the kidney or liver.
  • Chronic hypertension - The female experiences high blood pressure before pregnancy.

When to see a Doctor?

A pregnant female should regularly visit the doctor to monitor blood pressure and check the development of the fetus. Some symptoms like headache, nausea, and aches are prevalent during pregnancy. It is difficult to understand if they are normal symptoms of pregnancy or some other serious indication, especially if it’s your first pregnancy. However, contact your doctor if you are experiencing severe headaches, blurred vision, belly pain, or shortness of breath.

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor might run additional tests to check for signs of preeclampsia, which include:

  • Blood tests: This helps the doctor to understand the proper functioning of the liver and kidney along with blood platelet count and enzyme levels in the body.
  • Urine analysis: The doctor will determine the proper functioning of the kidneys.
  • Ultrasound: The doctor will closely monitor the growth of the fetus by ultrasound imaging. It also helps determine the weight of the fetus and the amount of fluid in the uterus.
  • Nonstress test: Helps the doctor determine the fetus's heart rate with the slightest movement around the womb.

Risk Factors and Complications Associated with Preeclampsia

Studies have shown that certain conditions are related to the risk of developing preeclampsia, which are listed below:

  • First pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Females older than 35 years of age
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Large time gap since the first pregnancy
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Diabetes (Type I or II)
  • Multiple fetuses
  • Conception through in vitro fertilization

Studies have pointed out that social inequities also play a role as chronic stressors affecting pregnant women's well-being and health. Certain complications reported with preeclampsia are:

  • Restricted fetal growth
  • Early birth or unplanned preterm birth
  • Placental abruption, where the placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus
  • HELLP syndrome (Hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count)
  • Eclampsia (Seizures or stroke)
  • Organ damage
  • Heart diseases
  • Kidney diseases

How to Prevent Preeclampsia?

You can take specific precautionary steps to lower the chances of developing preeclampsia, like losing weight, having a workout routine, controlling blood sugar and blood pressure levels, following a proper sleep routine, avoiding caffeine and salt, and adopting a healthy diet.

Treatment for Preeclampsia

Depending upon the gestation phase and complexity of preeclampsia, your doctor will decide the best treatment course suitable for you. You will be asked to monitor your blood pressure daily if the condition is not severe. The  doctor can also prescribe certain medications like,

  • Antihypertensive drugs for controlling blood pressure
  • Anticonvulsant drugs to prevent seizures
  • Corticosteroids to promote the growth of the fetus

In certain conditions, doctors advise delivering the fetus before the pregnancy term, which typically eases the symptoms associated with preeclampsia.


Knowing that you have a pregnancy-related complication is frightening, but it is beneficial to learn about your condition to manage the symptoms. It is recommended to have frequent appointments with a doctor if you are concerned about your symptoms.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Amritsar - Abadi Court Road. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. How to prevent preeclampsia if you have the risk factors?

If you have risk factors, taking a baby aspirin early in pregnancy can help manage symptoms associated with preeclampsia.

2. Can the baby survive preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a hypertension-related disorder commonly observed in most women who go on to deliver healthy babies and fully recover from complications.

3. Does stress cause preeclampsia?

Stress is a contributing factor that leads to high blood pressure in general. During pregnancy, high blood pressure can lead to preeclampsia

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