Preeclampsia: what it is, causes and symptoms

Preeclampsia is a disorder that affects around the five percent of pregnant women. It usually appears with more intensity starting at week 20 of pregnancy and is accompanied by the following symptoms: high blood pressure, swelling that does not go away, and large amounts of proteins in the urine.


Preeclampsia causes disablement of placental function by not allowing the fetus to reach the nutrients and oxygen necessary for its proper development. This lack can cause the baby to have a very low birth weight, among other complications.

Only in situations of severe preeclampsia there are risks for both the mother and the fetus, therefore, its early arrest allows most of the pregnant women who suffer from it nowadays give birth to a healthy child.


Classification of preeclampsia

Severe pre-eclampsia, when the arterial tensions are greater than or equal to 160 mm Hg and diastolic greater than or equal to 110 mm Hg. In the case of proteins in the urine, it must have in 24 hours a figure greater than or equal to 2 grams and / or present visual alterations, large decrease in urine volume, delayed intrauterine growth, low maternal platelets ...

Causes of preeclampsia

The exact causes of pre-eclampsia are still not known exactly, but there are certain factors that cause this complication in pregnancy and that make the mother a risk patient:

- Genetic alteration.


- An autoimmune disorder.

- Vascular problems.

- Inappropriate diet.

Factors that increase the risk of preeclampsia

- First pregnancy of the woman.

- Having a multiple pregnancy.

- Be over 35 years of age.

- Obesity or history of diabetes.

- Presenting high blood pressure or any kidney disease.

What are the effects of preeclampsia?

- Abdominal pain, below the ribs and to a large extent on the right side. Sometimes, we can confuse it with acidity.

- Do not urinate as often as necessary.

- Excessive nausea and vomiting.

- Changes in vision such as auras, photosensitivity or blurred vision.

How to treat preeclampsia?

It will only disappear completely after delivery, and therefore, it is indicated to end the pregnancy from week 37. In general, for the patient with preeclampsia, a recommendation is relative rest and one normocaloric, normoprotéica and normosódica diet.


Dr. Juan Luna. Head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Service of the Hospital La Milagrosa in Madrid.

Video: Preeclampsia Video - Brigham and Women's Hospital


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