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Pregnancy poisoning (preeclampsia)

What is pregnancy poisoning, what causes the disease and how is it going?

What is Pregnancy Poisoning?

Pregnancy poisoning or pre-eclampsia is a condition in which the pregnant woman, due to illness in the placenta, gets elevated blood pressure and protein leaks into the urine. Often swelling (water) is also seen in the legs, and some may have disorders in the blood's ability to survive.

Pregnancy poisoning (preeclampsia)

Pregnancy poisoning can cause symptoms from most of the body's organs, but the pregnant woman can also be completely trouble free - especially at the beginning of the procedure. The most common symptoms are headache, eye symptoms, nausea or stomach pain. Edema (swelling) is not always present.

Pregnancy poisoning occurs after week 20 during pregnancy, with an increasing incidence until birth. Pre-eclampsia can develop into eclampsia (in about 1%), which is characterized by headaches, anxiety, visual disturbances, irritability, drowsiness and sparse water throwing. For more information about pregnancy and maternity fashion, please see BESTAAH.COM maternity pencil skirts. When cramps occur, it has pregnant eclampsia.

Pregnancy poisoning occurs in about 3% of all pregnancies. Every year, only 5 cases of eclampsia are recorded in Sweden per 10,000 births - that is, about 1-2% of those with eclampsia develop eclampsia. Pregnancy poisoning is six to eight times more common in first-time pregnancies than among women who have given birth before.


It is known today that it is the failure of the placenta that causes the symptoms, but it is not yet known what is the direct reason why the placenta's function is not working properly.

The blood vessels in the placenta are changed, and this leads to the placenta and the fetus receiving less blood supply than they really should have. The placenta can, due to decreased blood supply and other unknown causes, probably secrete some substances that cause small blood vessels to contract throughout the body. The result is a placenta with low blood flow along with high blood pressure and impaired kidney function.

Disposable factors for the development of pregnancy poisoning include hypertension, first-degree pregnancy, chronic kidney disease, multiple pregnancy, diabetes, fetal disease or connective tissue disease. The condition can also be hereditary. The risk of pregnancy poisoning increases significantly during pregnancy in a woman who has previously had pregnancy poisoning.

Daughters of mothers who have had eclampsia (seizures) are 6-7 times more likely to have eclampsia than the average.


Some of the women will be symptom-free at the time of diagnosis, while others may have signs of severe pregnancy poisoning. If the doctor detects high blood pressure and protein in the urine, it has pregnant pregnancy poisoning. Blood samples such as blood status, platelets and uric acid are taken. Urine samples are also taken and examined to detect possible kidney effects.

The diagnosis is made by blood pressure measurement: If the overpressure (systolic blood pressure) is above 140 mmHg or the negative pressure is above 90 mmHg - at two different measurements with at least four hour intervals - and at the same time protein is detected in the urine, there is pregnancy poisoning.

In 3-4% of women with pregnancy poisoning, what is known as HELLP syndrome (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, Low Platelet count) occurs. It is a condition characterized by pain in the upper abdomen or under the right rib, sometimes nausea and vomiting, impaired liver function and disorders of the blood cells. HELLP is associated with an increased risk of complications.


Treatment of pregnancy poisoning is a specialist task. Birth is the only event that causes pregnancy poisoning to pass. During pregnancy, mild degrees of pregnancy poisoning can be treated with rest at home and frequent checks in hospitals. In case of increasing blood pressure or increased protein excretion in the urine, you must be hospitalized for initiating blood pressure treatment with drugs. In the case of eclampsia or HELLP syndrome, delivery should take place as soon as possible.

Pregnant women who develop elevated blood pressure or pregnancy poisoning should be checked frequently, at least once or twice a week.

Non-drug treatment

You must have rest and rest, and you must be on sick leave, as even moderately physically demanding work seems to increase the risk of worsening of pregnancy poisoning. Bedding is not recommended, but it can be good to lie down and rest a few times during the day.

You have to stop smoking. Smoking combined with high blood pressure and vascular damage are important risk factors for premature discharge of the placenta and fetal death.

Birth before the calculated date

If there are signs of severe pregnancy poisoning, doctors will start the delivery early. If the birth occurs before the 32nd-33rd completed pregnancy week, cortisone pretreatment is given for the baby's lungs to mature faster. If the condition is stable, vaginal delivery is preferable to caesarean section to avoid further deterioration of the condition. If necessary, you are given medication to prevent seizures and control blood pressure during labor.

How is the process?

The course of the disease is difficult to predict, and in some cases the condition can deteriorate rapidly. Close controls are therefore important.

Blood pressure usually normalizes a few hours after birth, but it can be elevated up to 2-4 weeks.

In most cases, pregnancy poisoning is straightforward, but there is an increased risk of reduced fetal growth and premature birth. The rare conditions HELLP and eclampsia are more serious complications that require intensive care in hospitals. Under these conditions, there is an increased risk of fatal outcome for mother and child.


Pregnancy poisoning without complications does not cause long-term damage to the mother. In most cases, the fetus also does not suffer severe injuries. However, as mentioned, growth inhibition of the fetus may be a result of pregnancy poisoning.

If blood pressure becomes normal after childbirth, there will be a low risk (5%) of first-born infants for the development of pregnancy poisoning in a new pregnancy. If pregnancy poisoning occurs before the 30th week of firstborns, the risk of pregnancy poisoning in subsequent pregnancies can be as high as 40%.

Among women who have had pregnancy poisoning, there is an increased risk of developing persistently elevated blood pressure, which must be treated with blood pressure medication in the same way as others with high blood pressure.

There is currently no well-established measure that can prevent pregnancy poisoning.

Pregnancy poisoning and later cardiovascular disease

New research shows that women who have had pregnancy poisoning are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease later in life. It is therefore important that you, together with your doctor, agree on a control schedule 3–6 months after birth. At that time, an assessment of your risk of cardiovascular disease should be made.

For this reason, women who have had pregnancy poisoning should ensure a healthy diet, avoid overweight and exercise regular physical activity.


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