- Reviewed by Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
What is it?
Preeclampsia is a condition that begins during pregnancy, usually after the 20th week. However, the symptoms and signs of preeclampsia may persist after delivery, and rarely the condition might not be recognized until after the baby is born. A woman with preeclampsia develops high blood pressure and usually protein in her urine, and she often has swelling (edema) of the legs, hands, face, or entire body.
When preeclampsia becomes severe, it can cause dangerous complications for the mother and the fetus. One of these complications is eclampsia, the term used when seizures develop in a woman with severe preeclampsia. Another concern is the higher risk of stroke during pregnancy and after delivery.
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About the Reviewer
Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
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