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Pre-Eclampsia - Why it Needs Immediate Treatment During Pregnancy?

MRCOG, MD - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Mumbai  •  20 years experience
Pre-Eclampsia -  Why it Needs Immediate Treatment During Pregnancy?

Pre-eclampsia may affect some women during the second half of their pregnancies or after they deliver the baby. Ladies suffering from pre-eclampsia show symptoms like hypertension, problems in retaining fluids (oedema) and large amount of protein in their urine (proteinuria). If it is not treated in time, it can cause a lot of complexities during the pregnancy and even after the delivery. Pre-eclampsia increases the risk of harmful effects for both the mother and the baby. The real reason for pre-eclampsia is still unknown, but it is believed that it is thought to occur when there is an issue with the placenta (the organ that connections the child's blood supply to the mother's). Pre-eclampsia in pregnant women often goes undiagnosed.

Women may present with headache, visual disturbance, pain in upper tummy, nausea, vomiting and rapidly progressive oedema. Complications of placental insufficiency can lead to IUGR(Intrauterine growth restriction), placental abruption and in severe cases, if left untreated, intrauterine death. It may affect women`s kidney, liver, cardiovascular, brain and blood clotting systems in severe cases. 

Complications: As pre-eclampsia develops further, it can create complications in retaining liquid (oedema). Oedema is responsible for causing sudden swelling of the feet, lower legs, face and hands during pregnancy. It occurs in the lower parts of the body, for example, the feet and lower legs and increases gradually during the day. In case the swelling is sudden, and affects the face and hands, it could be a result of pre-eclampsia.

Risks: There are a few factors that could increase your risk of falling prey to pre-eclampsia. This might require immediate treatment. These are:

  • If it is your first pregnancy, pre-eclampsia will probably happen during your first than the ones that will happen later.
  • It has been 10 years since you were last pregnant.
  • You have a family history of the condition. For instance, your mom or sisters have had pre-eclampsia.
  • You had pre-eclampsia in a past pregnancy. There is an around 20% chance that you will experience the condition again in later pregnancies.
  • You are in your teens or are more than 40 years of age.
  • You have a current medicinal issue like diabetes, kidney problems, headaches or hypertension.
  • You were obese towards the beginning of your pregnancy (your body mass index was 30 or more).
  • You are expecting multiple babies like twins or triplets (this spots more strain on the placenta).


The main indication of pre-eclampsia in the unborn baby is slow and stunted growth. This is brought about by poor blood supply through the placenta to the child. The developing child gets less oxygen and less supplements than it is supposed to. This can affect the growth and development of the child. This is called 'intra-uterine growth restriction, or 'intra-uterine growth impediment'.

Treatment: Bringing down the blood pressure and dealing with the symptoms in a proper manner can help in managing pre-eclampsia. Delivering the baby is the best way to treat pre-eclampsia. If it is confirmed that you do have pre-eclampsia, you'll be asked to stay in the hospital until your baby is delivered. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.

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