Pre-eclampsia is a serious medical condition which affects around 5% of pregnant women.  Proper prenatal care is essential to the detection and treatment of pre-eclampsia.  Under the watchful care of a midwife or doctor, mothers who develop this condition can still go on to deliver healthy babies.

Many symptoms of pre-eclampsia mimic those of a normal, healthy pregnancy.  These include nausea, headaches, swelling of extremities, and lower back pain.  However, the major warning signs of pre-eclampsia include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Protein in urine (proteinuria)
  • Unusual swelling in hands and face (oedema)
  • Changes in vision, including blurriness or light sensitivity
  • Throbbing headaches
  • Shortness of breath combined with anxiety or mental confusion
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Nausea or vomiting that recurs mid-pregnancy
  • Sudden weight gain

Your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) should check your blood pressure and urine content at each antenatal visit.  However, if you are past 20 weeks and begin having any of the other warning signs, call your midwife or doctor right away.  Left unchecked, pre-eclampsia can be a serious danger to the health of mother and baby.