Medical Specialties: Emergency medicine, Internal medicine, Obstetrics/gynecology

Clinical Definition

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-related hypertensive disorder that occurs most commonly in the second half of pregnancy. Preeclampsia is classified as a form of toxemia characterized by edema, hypertension and proteinuria. Risks for preeclampsia include renal disease, obesity and diabetes. The condition can progress to eclampsia if not treated promptly. 

In Our Own Words

Preeclampsia is a disorder of pregnancy that can affect the health of both mother and unborn child. Occurring most often during the third trimester or late in the second after the 20th week of pregnancy, this disorder is associated with protein in the urine and an increase in blood pressure. If the condition is not treated, it can progress to eclampsia, with seizures, and damage to the brain and other.


Having preeclampsia once is the biggest risk factor for having it in the future. Other risk factors include first pregnancy, family history, and any preexisting chronic high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes before pregnancy.


Today, most women with preeclampsia deliver healthy children at term or near term, however severe cases can be associated with grave illness and even death of the mother or child. 

Relevant Conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • HELLP syndrome
  • Eclampsia
Side Effects
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fluid retention
  • Increased swelling of feet, face hands and ankles
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