Preeclampsia: Symptoms and Causes

Jun 24 , 2021

Preeclampsia is a condition in pregnancy in which you have high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, mostly the liver and kidneys. If not treated or diagnosed, preeclampsia can lead to serious even fatal complications for both you and your baby.

What is Preeclampsia?

It is a  very common complication in pregnancy that causes high blood pressure, along with other symptoms such as protein in the urine. If you have preeclampsia, the most effective treatment is delivery of your baby. It usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had been normal.


Preeclampsia sometimes develops without any symptoms, but the main symptoms include: 

  • Severe headache
  • Abnormal swelling in your hands and face
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Changes in your vision
  • Pain in the right upper abdomen
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath


As per the experts the exact cause of preeclampsia involves various factors. It is believed that it begins in the placenta: the organ that nourishes the fetus throughout pregnancy.Early in pregnancy, new blood vessels develop and evolve to efficiently send blood to the placenta. But in women with preeclampsia, these blood vessels don’t seem to develop or function properly.

  • Insufficient blood flow to the uterus
  • Damage to the blood vessels
  • Advanced maternal age 
  • A problem with the immune system
  • Certain genes
  • Obesity 

Is stress a reason?

Psychological events such as high stress levels, anxiety or depression may directly or indirectly affect pregnancy and may thus lead to pre-eclampsia 


The one and only cure for the condition is the delivery of the baby. The earlier it occurs in your pregnancy, the greater the risk is for you and your baby. Delivery by cesarean delivery (C-section) may be necessary.


Researchers are still working towards finding a prevention strategy for this. One study shows that eating food bars containing the amino acid L-arginine and antioxidant vitamins lowered the risk of preeclampsia in high-risk women.

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