Pre-eclampsia is quite common – occurring in around five percent of pregnancies. By monitoring blood pressure and urine, it can usually be detected when the condition is still mild. This usually means it can be managed until delivery is possible. There is no cure as such – other than delivering the baby. However, if you have moderate or severe pre-eclampsia you will be monitored more closely and may be prescribed blood pressure medication. However, it usually goes away several weeks after the birth. It may mean that your baby needs to be delivered soon after 36 weeks or even earlier.
You are considered higher risk if you are in one or more of the following categories:
In addition, you are at statistically greater risk if you:
Even if you’re not in one of the high-risk groups, call your antenatal care team or your doctor straight away if you have any of the following symptoms:
You might want to discuss using a blood pressure monitor at home during your pregnancy. This means you can see immediately if your blood pressure is climbing and call the antenatal team rather than waiting for the next clinic appointment.
The only way to stop the development of pre-eclampsia is to deliver your baby early. This means if you are diagnosed with pre-eclampsia you will have your blood pressure and urine monitored regularly until it’s safe for your baby to be delivered. This will normally be at around 37-38 weeks of pregnancy. However, in severe cases babies will be delivered earlier.
Early delivery with either be artificially induced to start labour or caesarian section will be scheduled.
You may be prescribed medication to lower your blood pressure until your baby is delivered.