Pre-eclampsia is a serious medical condition that can affect multiple organ systems during pregnancy or postpartum. It usually develops after 20 weeks, often in the third trimester. It affects millions of women worldwide each year and can happen to any pregnant person.
There are certain diagnostic criteria for pre-eclampsia, but one of the most common signs of pre-eclampsia is a high blood pressure reading. If we are concerned someone is developing pre-eclampsia, we also test for protein in the urine and check blood tests to measure platelet levels and kidney and liver function.
Someone could be at higher risk for pre-eclampsia if they have had it in a previous pregnancy, have underlying medical conditions like chronic hypertension, diabetes, or lupus, or are carrying more than one fetus.
Other risk factors include being over 35 years old, conceiving via in vitro fertilization, having a BMI over 30 and being pregnant for the first time. Low dose aspirin may help decrease the risk of developing pre-eclampsia. If you have high blood pressure and want to get pregnant, we encourage you to see your OB/GYN for a checkup and preconception visit.
As always, we encourage you to discuss any concerns or questions you may have about pre-eclampsia with your physician.