Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Preeclampsia - Cause

Experts don't know the exact cause of preeclampsia.

But it may start with a poorly developed placenta that doesn't circulate blood normally. What causes this placenta problem isn't yet clear. Experts also don't know why the mother's body then develops high blood pressure.

Immune system response

Preeclampsia occurs most often in women who are pregnant for the first time and in women who have been pregnant before but now have a first pregnancy with a different man.

Exposure to an antigen from the father (in the growing placenta or fetus, for example) may trigger an immune response in the woman's body. This immune response—the body's way of fighting infection—may result in narrowing of the blood vessels throughout the body, causing higher blood pressure and other problems.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

Woman smiling as she reads pregnancy test
Slideshow
pregnant woman with salad
Quiz
 
pregnancy am i pregnant
Article
calendar and baby buggy
Tool
 

slideshow fetal development
Slideshow
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
Article
 
What Causes Bipolar
Video
Woman trying on dress in store
Slideshow
 

pregnant woman
Article
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
Video
 
healthtool pregnancy calendar
Tool
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
Video