Pre-eclampsia is a condition occurring during in one in ten pregnancies, usually after 20 weeks. If pre-eclampsa is untreated it can lead to infant growth delays due to decreased blood supply to the baby as well as other complications for baby and mother.
Routine testing of blood pressure and urine testing by a doctor should detect early signs of pre-eclampsia. If pre-eclampsia becomes more severe, hospital admission can be required for further monitoring.
Early symptoms of pre-eclampsia include (tested for by the doctor):
- High blood pressure
- Protein in the urine
Other symptoms of pre-eclampsia (discuss these with your doctor immediately):
- Severe headache
- Vision problems
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of face, hands and feet, especially if it develops quickly
Treatment of pre-eclampsia
Management of pre-eclampsia is through treatment of symptoms and rest. Blood pressure can be managed by medications. The only way to cure pre-eclampsia is through delivering the child.
(Medical disclaimer: Tips provided need to be considered in conjunction with medical advice. For immediate concerns, please contact HealthDirect (Australia wide) ph 1800 022 222 – to talk to a registered nurse 24hrs a day, and in emergencies call 000.)
Community question on pre-eclampsia experiences
For mums who had high blood pressure and/or pre eclampsia during their pregnancy, what were your experiences?
- I had preeclampsia I knew for a while but drs couldn’t detect. I had blown up like a balloon swollen everywhere my hands were so swollen couldn’t bend my fingers and turn door knobs. I had increased headaches aches behind eyes. Tests still didn’t show anything until on a check up my vision was blurry and my bp was sky high. I had to be induced at 37wks after 3 days and 6 attempts to break my water bp crept up I had emergency csection. Swelling started going down instantly was amazing. I was in ICU n bub was in NICU as he was jaundiced and underweight. He had stopped growing due to preeclampsia. Nadine
- I had gestational hypertension from 16 weeks. Was medicated and observed. Had a breezy vaginal birth after being induced as my waters broke at 37 weeks. Alle
- Showed all the signs for it from 34 weeks. Protein levels in urine were not quite high enough to diagnose though. Didn’t get it confirmed until I was in labour. My son was born 6 pound, very frail and my placenta had stopped working and was half dead. Dr said placenta stopped working approx 2 weeks before. If I hadn’t have had him when I did he may not be here today. Rhiannon
- I had high blood pressure starting at about 20 weeks and was put on medication to control it. The further along I got the more medication I needed. Had to go for extra u/s due to small for dates which they attributed to the hbp among other things. My son stopped growing around 34/35 weeks and I was induced at 38 weeks. My son only weighed 4 pound 4 ounces. He had to be in a humicrib for a few days as he couldn’t maintain his own temperature and had to be fed through a nasal tube as they didn’t want him losing weight. But he was otherwise healthy. He is now three months, still small at 4.8kg which puts him below the 3rd percentile however he is meeting all the milestones and is a happy little dude. Melissa
- I was hypertensive before pregnant. Just had to change medications and increase my dose. Those with pre existing hypertension will have smaller babies (mine was 2.6kgs). My BP started raising around the 37th week so I was induced dead on 38 weeks. Suzanne
- I was 37.5 with twins went in for a routine check up which was also to get my csection date and my ob asked whether I had my blood pressure taken while I was in waiting room said no so she took me in between patience. I can’t remember how high it was but I got sent straight to birth suite had urine test for protein and had an emergency csection that night. Can’t really give symptoms or anything cause I didn’t have any I didn’t even know anything was wrong. Docs were all worried and I had my BP checked like every 15mins but I felt fine. Only thing that I really remember was afterwards I had to have magnesium drip which was horrible and painful and they wouldn’t let me go onto maternity ward and birth suite was full so I got put in ICU and other than a quick cuddle I got with one twin I didn’t get to see them for over 24 hours until they took me back to birth suite where they wheeled them in for me and then they took back to SCU. Jacinta
- Had gestational hypertension from 37 weeks. Was monitored every couple of days but no protein in urine. Was induced at 38+5 days as blood pressure remained high. Stayed high throughout labour and ended with emergency c section. Was also put on medication after birth for a few days until bp returned to normal. Lauren
- I developed postpartum preeclampsia! Not the same as having it in pregnancy, but I didn’t even know it existed. I was in hospital for a week for monitoring, and 6 months later I’m still on blood pressure medication. Elizabeth
- My blood pressure was borderline high from around 16 weeks with my first but never bad enough for medication at 36 weeks I was put on bed rest as they were concerned. I had headaches and just felt crappy. 37 weeks I was induced due to preeclampsia but was in the start of labour anyway. 6 hr labour all up. I was fine with second bub. Shanara
- I had pre eclampsia at 37 weeks they induced me the next day and I had a quick breezy birth from the time they broke my waters to the birth of my daughter was 3.5 hours. Tasha
- I had high blood pressure, picked up at 13 weeks, was put on medication. Saw a renal specialist two weekly then weekly towards the end, was induced at 37+3 weeks. I had some Accupuncture during pregnancy for the BP and before induction to help baby move down, didn’t end up with pre-eclampsia, labour was good and no issues. Just tried to rest more and take it easy late in the pregnancy. Gabby
- I had PE with my first. (I am about to have my third) it came on at about 27 weeks and i was on medication in and out of hospital with daily CTG monitoring at 34 weeks she was delivered by c section 1.75kgs. She was in neonatal for two weeks and then she would stop breathing alot when we took her home. She is now 10 years old and the tallest in her class. She does have Asthma and Central Auditory Processing Disorder not sure if its associated with her being a premmie and didnt grow like she should have. Tanua
- Gestational hypertension at 36-37th week. Daily monitoring at hospital. Was medicated during 38th week. Induced at 39th week. Failed induction (2 gels, attard catheter) and had her via emergency c sect at 39 + 2 (3 weeks ago). I’m a ftm and told there’s a liklihood of this occurring again. I’m just grateful she’s here in one piece. Krystal
- I had gestational hyper tension and was medicated from 22 weeks. I was induced at 36+5 weeks when my bp hit 150/120 (also had pancreatitis)…I had to have an epidural as soon as they broke my water to try and lower bp and help bubs heart rate…I was in active labour for 3 hours and gave birth after 2 minutes of pushing. Bp was great after birth…bub was in special care due to lung disease as they suspect he stopped growing at 33 weeks. Kayla
- My blood pressure shot up almost overnight at 33 weeks, readings were all over the place ended up in hospital on bed rest twice, I had an emergency c section at 39 weeks and only found out after my son was born that I had PE. My son suffered a stroke and we were both transferred to another hospital he spent three weeks in the Nicu but is great now. My bp went back to normal within a week. Jessica
- I was admitted to hospital at first sign of preeclampsia at 32 weeks after a fairly normal pregnancy. I had recieved scans to measure bubs weight ect. She was measuring at 3.4kgs at 33.5 weeks.. But was kept in as the condition was worsening. By 35 weeks i was being induced and also recieved epidrual to keep my bp under control, and after 14.5 active labour i needed assistance to deliever by forecepts and delieverd a baby girl at only 2075 grams! As the condition was “worse than first thought” also need time in SCN due to being prem and not having proper sucking reflexes. Other than that, perfect! Everything was normal with 5 days. Tanaya
- I had it with both my kids. First was detected at 36 weeks. Had to have a few overnight stays and was induced at 38 wks. With my second I was detected at around 34 weeks. Had to have daily blood pressure monitoring every day for 3 hours sometimes lomget until they were happy, a fee overnight stays. It suxed lol I was put on medication but it didn’t help. Went into labour at 36 weeks and continued bp meds for a week. Couldn’t b discharged until they were happy with my bp. Amanda
- – I had high BP starting at 32weeks. It kept creeping up each week and I also had slightly raised liver readings. I ended up having to stop work two weeks early and increased medication from one tablet to three a day by 36weeks. No protein and had weekly blood tests to check liver and it settled down towards the 37wk mark. Had my planned c section and bub is healthy Meagan
- Developed high bp and swelling in the 3rd trimester, admitted to hospital for monitoring at 36 weeks. Then monitored closely and put on bed rest for the last month. Almost induced 3 times, ended up being induced at 40 weeks. 13 hr labour, monitored the whole time and both he and I were fine. The delivery wasn’t so smooth sailing but he was born perfect, not a thing wrong with him. Allyce
- My PE was diagnosed at 36wks after complaining of terrible headaches for a fortnight, fingers began to swell (after little swelling elsewhere) and BP just rose and rose. Obst started me on steroids as a precaution and took urine samples. My protein levels were v high so was monitored daily by obst. Got to 37 wks, still getting terrible headaches, bit crampy and BP rose to 190! I was admitted that afternoon for c-section. I was actually quite relieved as I was feeling particularly awful that day and at least I knew bub and I were in good hands. I found the obst to be wonderful. The more info you give them about how you’re feeling, the better. as soon as bub was out- felt a million bucks and BP Dropped back to normal. Couldn’t believe how instantaneous the relief was! Amanda
- Was admitted to hospital with high bp and protein in urine at 32+4 quickly declined (mainly kidney function) and was induced with gel and syntocin 2 days later and had bub at 33 weeks. Spent 42hrs in critical care unit and didnt see bub until I got out. Amanda
- I had it in both my pregnancies. First baby I was a bit swollen and headaches but was moving house. Had an appt at 34 weeks. Ok. At 37 weeks, my BP was up a little. Had monitoring and bloods. Was admitted. Induced at 37+6.
Baby 2 I was unwell, swollen, headaches, felt really unwell and sick from 30 weeks. My bloods, BP and urine were all a bit whacked out. Up down, good bad. No idea. By the time I got to 39 weeks I was really sick. So swollen. My BP was on the rise again! I was also 4cm dilated, bulging membranes and had been in pre-labour for 2 weeks.
We booked an induction and she was born quickly at 39+5. I went home 36 hours post birth but got really unwell the next day. Visiting Midwife sent me back to Ed. I was no worse with my bloods so I went home. 2 days later my BP was sky high again so I was sent back. Admitted for a week and monitored every 4 hours. I didn’t have any BP meds but I had some other complications too.
It took a whole year for my blood results to get back to normal range. frown emoticon. They’ve said if we want a 3rd baby they will monitor me from pre-conception as they think it will happen again.
My story is quite unusual though! Bethania
- It wasn’t a brilliant experience that’s for sure. Had high blood pressure at the end of my pregnancy, and a test showed I would almost definitely have pre eclampsia. I was induced at 36 + 3, and had an emergency C section as bub was in distress after trying for a natural birth for 2 days. I also had a blood clot they found after so that wasn’t helping. Bub was 5 pound 8 ounces, and I had a failing placenta so he wasn’t getting enough towards the end. We stayed in hospital for a week and he was in the special nursery and had to have his blood taken all the time to check sugar levels and I pumped milk for him. We are all good at home now 7 months later. It seems scary at the time, but babies and mums are resilient fighters I reckon. My birth plan and all that went out the window because they said we are inducing you NOW! I had no time, I felt ripped off and scared, but we are doing just fine and you will too. Best of luck. Emmaline
- undectected (due to hospital fault of not checking BP etc despite showing symtoms).. Hospitalised at 27+3 and had her at 28+3 due to HELLP. Jackie