Pre-eclampsia is the most common of the serious complications of pregnancy. It is a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy (from 20 weeks) or soon after their baby is delivered. If you are pregnant and worried or feel unwell please contact your GP or midwife immediately.

Pre-eclampsia facts you should be aware of:

  • Pre-eclampsia is caused by a defect in the placenta, which joins the mother and baby and supplies the baby with nutrients and oxygen from the mother’s blood.

  • It is a disease some women get in pregnancy or shortly after they have given birth
  • It is usually mild, but can be severe and can occur very suddenly
  • If not properly managed and diagnosed it can be fatal for both mother and baby.
  • Warning signs of pre-eclamspia are often high blood pressure and / or protein in your urine.

  • They will check your blood pressure and urine at each appointment for signs of pre-eclampsia
  • There is a new test to help diagnose pre-eclampsia (usually after 30 weeks)

If you are pregnant, ensure you:

  • Always attend your antenatal appointments
  • Have your blood pressure taken at every visit
  • Have your urine checked – if protein is found this should prompt a further test to confirm
  • Go back to your GP or midwife straight away if you have any concerns
  • Make sure all your results are written in your maternity notes

Look out for:

  • Severe swelling of hands, feet or face
  • Severe pain under the ribs
  • Severe headaches
  • Visual disturbances e.g. flashing lights
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Feeling unwell