Pre-eclampsia is a condition that affects some pregnant women. It usually occurs during the second half of pregnancy (from around 20 weeks) or immediately after the delivery of their baby.
Women with pre-eclampsia have high blood pressure, fluid retention and they will have traces of protein in their urine. If pre-eclampsia is left untreated, it can lead to serious complications, such as growth problems in the unborn baby.
Symptoms can include;
- severe headaches
- blurred vision or lights flashing before the eyes
- bad pain just below the ribs
- sudden swelling of the face, hands or feet
- feeling generally unwell
Some pregnant women with pre-eclampsia don't even realise they have it. Your midwife will be checking for this at each of your antenatal appointments by taking your blood pressure and testing your urine, which is why it is so important to go to all of your check ups.
Mild pre-eclampsia can be monitored with blood pressure and urine tests at your antenatal appointments and for most women usually disappears soon after the birth. Severe pre-eclampsia may need to be monitored in hospital.
Treatment for pre-eclampsia focuses on lowering blood pressure and managing the other symptoms, sometimes with medication.
If you are worried about pre-eclampsia, please talk to your doctor or midwife as soon as possible.
For more information on pregnancy health and advice go to www.nhs.uk/Start4Life