The short answer is yes, potentially. Pre-eclampsia can be fatal for mothers and babies if not properly managed. Worldwide it causes the deaths of 6 women per minute. In the UK it causes the deaths of 4 women a year and 1000 babies. It is the reason why antenatal appointments are of vital importance.

Pre-eclampsia is a major cause of babies being born prematurely. 40% of babies born before 28 weeks are as a result of pre-eclampsia.

Who is most at risk?

No one can predict with certainty who will get pre-eclampsia. Every woman is at risk in her first pregnancy, although the risk is greater for those with a strong family history of the complication. Women who have had pre-eclampsia in a first pregnancy may get it again. However, those who have enjoyed normal first pregnancies rarely get pre-eclampsia in subsequent pregnancies.

The risk of repeat attacks is increased if the mother is carrying twins or has one of several chronic medical problems, including high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes or, to a lesser extent, migraine. Mothers over 40, or with a gap of 10 years since their last baby may also be at risk. Women with a body mass index over 35 or weight of 100kg or more may also be of higher risk.