The word “preeclampsia” comes from the Greeks and means “before the lightning,” because preeclampsia strikes suddenly and often with little or no warning.
Its two most common symptoms are high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Other symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Sudden and severe swelling
- Mental confusion
- Changes in vision
- Abdominal and/or shoulder pain
Women who know the signs can catch it early and receive the appropriate medical care which can include hospitalization and medications to help develop the baby’s lungs, depending on how far along a woman is in her pregnancy. The only known cure is delivering the placenta and the baby.
A related condition, post-eclampsia, is just as dangerous. Its most significant symptom is very high blood pressure after the baby’s birth. It’s not a common condition, but it’s important to know the signs.
The Pre-Eclampsia Foundation has more information about this disorder that effects about 5% of pregnant women.