Pre-eclampsia is pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. It is one of the most common life-threatening conditions occurring in pregnancy. It occurs 1 in 50 pregnancies. High blood pressure can be extremely dangerous to both, the mother and baby. Currently, the only treatment is delivery. The delivery needs to be timed carefully as it needs to balance the condition of the mother and the maturity of the baby.
The probability of developing pre-eclampsia is increased by some factors including high body mass index (BMI), first pregnancy, and having any previous personal and family history of pre-eclampsia.
In addition to your 11-13 week scan you can opt to have a pre-eclampsia pregnancy screening for this potentially serious condition. There is vast evidence that early pre-eclampsia is associated with an increased risk to you and your baby’s health. Better maternal and fetal monitoring if detected high risk would lead to the early detection of pre-eclampsia from the clinical signs of the disease and where necessary medication can be given.
Pre-eclampsia screening process involves an ultrasound scan that measures the placental blood flow at 11-13 weeks of pregnancy in combination with mean arterial blood pressure, maternal history, placental growth factor (PLGF) and serum PAPP-A maternal blood marker.
A routine mid-trimester scan should be performed to check for not only the baby’s structural development but also growth, as close to 20 weeks as possible. At 23-24 weeks, it is important to check baby’s uterine artery dopplers, growth, your urine and blood pressure. At this stage, if everything is fine, your doctor will continue to check your urine and blood pressure throughout the pregnancy on a regular basis till you go into labour.