Symptoms of pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia rarely happens before the 20th week of pregnancy. M ost cases occur after 24-26 weeks and usually towards the end of pregnancy.

Although less common, the condition can also develop for the first time during the firstsix weeks after the birth.

Most people onlyexperience mild symptoms, but it's important to manage the condition, in casesevere symptoms or complications develop. Generally, the earlierpre-eclampsia, develops the more severe the condition will be.

Early signs and symptoms

Initially, pre-eclampsia causes:

  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • protein in urine (proteinuria)

You probably won'tnotice any symptoms of either of these,but your GP or midwife should pick them up during your routine antenatal appointments .

High blood pressure affects 10-15% of all pregnant women, so this alone doesn't suggest pre-eclampsia. However, if protein in the urine is found at the same time as high blood pressure, it's a good indicator of the condition.

Without immediate treatment, pre-eclampsia may lead to a number of serious complications, including:

  • convulsions (eclampsia)
  • HELLP syndrome (a combined liver and blood clotting disorder)
  • stroke

However,these complications are rare. This is caused by poor blood supply through the placenta to the baby.

The growing baby receives less oxygen and fewer nutrients than it should, which can affect development. This is called intra-uterine or foetal growth restriction.

If your baby is growing more slowly than usual, this will normally be picked up during your antenatal appointments when the midwife or doctor measures you.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016