Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a serious condition of pregnancy and can be particularly dangerous because many of the signs are silent while some symptoms resemble “normal” effects of pregnancy on your body. Many women suffering from preeclampsia don’t feel sick, and may be surprised or become frustrated when they are admitted to the hospital or prescribed bed rest since they still feel well.

High blood pressure is an important sign of preeclampsia. The disease is sometimes referred to as a silent killer because most people can’t “feel” their blood pressure going up. As a result, patient awareness of the warning signs is one of the most important tools we have to successfully help women receive the care they need. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with signs and symptoms included here to empower yourself and/or others during pregnancy.

If you experience any of the following symptoms during your pregnancy or after delivery, call your doctor or midwife right away. Having symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have preeclampsia, but they are cause for concern and require medical evaluation. Signs of preeclampsia, which are often measured by your healthcare provider, include high blood pressure and sometimes protein in the urine. Symptoms can include:
  • Swelling of the hands and face, especially around the eyes (swelling of the feet is more common in late pregnancy and probably not a sign of preeclampsia)
  • Weight gain of more than five pounds in a week
  • Headache that won’t go away, even after taking medication such as acetaminophen
  • Changes in vision like seeing spots or flashing lights; partial or total loss of eyesight
  • Nausea or throwing up, especially suddenly, after mid pregnancy (not the morning sickness that many women experience in early pregnancy)
  • Upper right belly pain, sometimes mistaken for indigestion or the flu
  • Difficulty breathing, gasping, or panting
  • Hyperreflexia​

It's also important to know that some women with preeclampsia have NO symptoms or they "just don’t feel right." If you have a sense that something's wrong, even without symptoms, trust yourself and contact us immediately at 920.729.7105.