Pre-eclampsia is a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half ofpregnancy (from around 20 weeks) or soon aftertheir baby is delivered.

Early signs ofpre-eclampsiaincludehaving high blood pressure (hypertension) and protein in your urine (proteinuria).It's unlikely that you'll noticethese signs, but they should be picked up during your routine antenatal appointments .

In some cases, further symptoms can develop, including:

  • swelling of the feet, ankles, face and handscaused byfluid retention ( oedema )
  • severe headache
  • vision problems
  • pain just below the ribs

If you notice any symptoms of pre-eclampsia, seek medical advice immediately by calling your midwife, GP surgery or NHS 111.

Although many cases are mild, the condition can lead to serious complications for both mother and baby if it's not monitored and treated (see below).The earlier pre-eclampsia is diagnosed and monitored, the better the outlook for mother and baby.

This will normally be at around 37-38 weeks of pregnancy, but it may be earlier in more severe cases.

At this point, labour may be started artificially ( induced ) or you may have a caesarean section .

Medication may be recommended to lower your blood pressure while you wait for your baby to be delivered.

Thesefits can be life-threatening for the mother and baby, butthey'rerare.


Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 4 Jan 2017