How to Say It: pre-ee-clamp'-see-ah
Pre-eclampsia is high blood pressure during pregnancy. There also may be too much protein in the urine. This condition can harm organs.
Cardiovascular System and Kidneys
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The cause is not known.
Pre-eclampsia is more common young women who have not given birth before.
Other things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
A woman may not have symptoms. Those who do may have:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Preeclampsia is diagnosed if you have high blood pressure.
Other tests that may be done are:
The only way to cure this condition is to deliver the baby. The decision to do so depends on how many weeks along a woman is in her pregnancy. Labor may happen on its own or it may be started by the doctor.
Delivery may need to be delayed so the baby has more time to grow. Pre-eclampsia may also be mild. It may be managed by:
An aspirin or a calcium supplement may lower the risk of this health problem in women who are at risk.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
The Canadian Women's Health Network
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
High blood pressure during pregnancy. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/high-blood-pressure-during-pregnancy. Accessed October 15, 2020.
Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hypertensive-disorders-of-pregnancy . Accessed October 15, 2020.
Leeman L, Fontaine P. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Am Fam Physician 2016 Jan 15;93(2):121.
Preeclampsia and high blood pressure during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/preeclampsia-and-high-blood-pressure-during-pregnancy. Accessed October 15, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Elliot M. Levine, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 10/15/2020