What is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a life-threatening condition that occurs during the pregnancy and postpartum period. Preeclampsia usually develops in the second or third trimester of pregnancy and is marked by high blood pressure and a high level of protein in the woman's urine. Preeclampsia decreases the blood flow to the uterus and prevents the fetus from receiving the nutrients and oxygen necessary for its growth.

Preeclampsia can lead to serious medical complications such as stroke, seizure, internal bleeding, blood clotting, and multiple organ failure. In some cases, preeclampsia can escalate into HELLP syndrome or eclampsia, which can prove fatal to the mother and / or the baby.

Alternative Names:
Toxemia, Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)

Frequently asked questions
  1. Trends in Fetal and Infant Survival Following Preeclampsia, Olga Basso, Svein Rasmussen, Clarice R. Weinberg, Allen J. Wilcox, Lorentz M. Irgens, Rolv Skjaerven; JAMA. 2006;296(11):1357-1362.doi:10.1001/jama.296.11.1357
  2. Barrier Contraceptive Methods and Preeclampsia, James L. Mills, Mark A. Klebanoff, Barry I. I. Graubard, J. Christopher Carey, Heinz W. Berendes; JAMA. 1991;265(1):70-73.doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460010070033