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What is Preeclampsia? How is it different from hypertension induced during pregnancy?

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posted Mar 28, 2016 by anonymous

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2 Answers

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Preeclampsia is the condition occurring uniquely during pregnancy, characterized by the below three traits:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Presence of protein in the urine (Proteinuria)
  3. Swelling of feet, hands and legs

This is usually pertinent after 20 weeks of pregnancy and mostly doesn’t show up before that and is evident in 3-7% of pregnancies. This condition when left untreated or gets severe, leads to a condition called Eclampsia, which involves seizures, failure of liver/kidney, cardiovascular diseases in future or soon after child birth etc. affecting the mortality of the woman in worst cases. However this happens in very rare cases.

It is different from Pregnancy Induced hypertension (PIH) in a way that, it exhibits proteinuria as against PIH which has no protein in the blood/urine sample. Preeclampsia affects the mortality of both mother and child, PIH doesn’t involve these risks. High blood pressure is common in both the cases.

answer Mar 28, 2016 by Dr Prachi
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There is a very fine line between preeclampsia and pregnancy hypertension. However, it is vital that one be aware of these differences for the safety of both the mother and child. Remember that during the pregnancy period, blood pressure is often checked because high blood pressure is a common sign of preeclampsia. However, there are many other signs that one has to watch out for.

If there is a persistent rise in the blood pressure, the doctor may ask you to undergo a proteinuria test too, which basically tests the urine levels in the body. In case the proteinuria levels are not as per defined norms, there is a chance that you have preeclampsia.

The symptoms of pregnancy high blood pressure and preeclampsia are often the same, but it is tests like these, which help in differentiating between the two. Other symptoms that you may experience during high blood pressure and preeclampsia include weight gain, swelling in the feet, headaches, etc. Considering these are symptoms that occur commonly during pregnancy, discriminating or sorting them out becomes difficult.

But unlike high blood pressure, there are a lot of risks involved in preeclampsia. Diagnosed around the 20th week of pregnancy, this disease may result in the baby not being delivered the right way. In some cases, the baby is not full delivered or is preterm. There are some other serious complications that may occur for the mother too. So it could mean termination of pregnancy for some.

What you should do is keep a watch out for the different kinds of symptoms that are mentioned above. In case, you are unsure or have a bad feeling, you can ask your doctor for a check up or test for proteinuria. In all probabilities, it is just a little high blood pressure that will go away as you get ample rest :)

answer Apr 26, 2016 by Shahid R