Pre-eclampsia is when you have high blood pressure and potentially protein in your urine usually in the second half of pregnancy.
Although the exact cause is unknown, it is thought to occur when there is a problem with the placenta. The risks are low mum with mild pre-eclampsia affecting up to 6% of pregnancies, and severe cases about 1-2%, but it’s always best to have the information just in case. Symptoms The main symptoms of pre-eclampsia as mentioned above is having high blood pressure and protein in your urine, both of these are usually picked up in routine checks throughout your pregnancy, but other symptoms may include the following: Swelling of the feet, ankles, face and hands Severe headaches Vision problems Pain just below the ribs You may be more at risk if pre pregnancy you suffered from high blood pressure, are diabetic or have kidney disease. If you have experienced pre-eclampsia in a previous pregnancy or have other conditions like lupus or antiphospholipid syndrome, then this may also increase your risk. Treatment If you are diagnosed with pre-eclampsia then you will be referred to a specialist and assessed, usually in hospital. They will then monitor to determine how severe the condition is and may require you to stay in hospital. The only cure is to deliver the baby, which is usually done around 37-38 weeks and so they will likely monitor you if you are not at that stage, unless you have a severe case, which as previously mentioned is only about 1-2% of pregnancies. Most cases of pre-eclampsia cause no problems and improve soon after the baby is delivered. If you do experience any of the above symptoms, then do contact your midwife or 111 for further advice.