Risks Associated With Preeclampsia

While the cause of preeclampsia is unknown, doctors do know that certain factors will increase a woman's chances of developing the condition. These are known as preeclampsia risk factors. These risk factors include:
  • Having chronic hypertension (high blood pressure) before becoming pregnant
  • Being obese prior to pregnancy
  • Having developed high blood pressure or preeclampsia during a previous pregnancy, especially if these conditions occurred early in the pregnancy
  • Being pregnant under the age of 20 or over the age of 40
  • Being pregnant with more than one baby
  • Having diabetes, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus (SLE), or scleroderma.

Symptoms of Preeclampsia

Symptoms will vary, depending on the severity of the preeclampsia. They usually include:
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling of the hands and face
  • Abnormal weight gain
  • Protein in the urine.
Other symptoms may include:
  • Vision problems (including blurred vision, spots, or sensitivity to light)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches.
These possible preeclampsia symptoms can be caused by other conditions, too. They can also occur in healthy pregnancies. For example, a woman's feet might swell with preeclampsia, but swollen feet are common during healthy pregnancies; swollen feet do not always mean there is a problem.
Regular visits with your doctor help him or her to:
  • Track your blood pressure and level of protein in your urine
  • Order and analyze blood tests that detect signs of preeclampsia
  • Monitor fetal development more closely.


(Click Preeclampsia Symptoms for a closer look at possible symptoms.)


Pregnancy and Pain

What Is Preeclampsia?

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