Signs of Preeclampsia

Common symptoms of preeclampsia may include protein in the urine, high blood pressure, and swelling of the hands and face. Other preeclampsia signs are abdominal pain and headaches. Specific symptoms will vary, depending on the severity of the condition. Regular prenatal visits will help your healthcare provider order and analyze tests that detect preeclampsia.

Signs of Preeclampsia: An Overview

While researchers do not know the specific cause or causes of preeclampsia (also known as pregnancy-induced hypertension, toxemia of pregnancy, or acute hypertensive disease of pregnancy), they do know that the result of preeclampsia is a narrowing of blood vessels. Because of this narrowing, women with preeclampsia can have decreased blood flow to the:
  • Kidneys
  • Brain
  • Liver
  • Retina
  • Placenta.
Understanding the effect of preeclampsia can help explain preeclampsia symptoms.

Specific Preeclampsia Signs

Specific signs will vary, depending on the severity of the condition. Signs may include:
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal weight gain
  • Protein in the urine
  • Swelling of the hands and face.
Other possible preeclampsia signs are:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vision problems, including blurred vision, spots, or sensitivity to light
  • Headaches.

Things to Remember

The possible signs of preeclampsia discussed in this article can be caused by other conditions. In fact, 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 prenatal visits will help your doctor:
  • Track your blood pressure and level of protein in your urine
  • Monitor fetal development more closely
  • Order and analyze blood tests that detect signs of preeclampsia.
Pregnancy and Pain

What Is Preeclampsia?

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