Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy - Symptoms
High blood pressure
If you have developed
high blood pressure, you will probably not have any
symptoms. It usually requires a blood pressure check with a blood pressure cuff
and stethoscope to detect elevated blood pressure.
measured at 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher is classified as
high (hypertensive) and 160/110 mm Hg or higher is classified as severe.
preeclampsia can develop gradually or suddenly.
- Systolic blood pressure is over 140
mm Hg, or diastolic blood pressure is over 90 mm Hg, or both, for two
measurements taken at least 6 hours apart.
- Protein in the urine is
usually higher than normal. High urine protein is 300 milligrams (mg) measured
in 24 hours or protein consistently showing 1+ or greater on a dipstick.
Although you may have other symptoms, you will not be
diagnosed with preeclampsia unless you also have high blood pressure or high
protein in your urine. Other symptoms of mild preeclampsia may include:
- Swelling of the hands and face that does not
go away during the day. (If you have no other signs or symptoms of
preeclampsia, this swelling is probably a sign of normal
- Rapid weight gain [more than
2 lb (0.9 kg) per week or
6 lb (2.7 kg) per
- Bleeding from a cut or injury that lasts longer than
In severe preeclampsia,
systolic blood pressure is over 160 mm Hg, or diastolic blood pressure is over
110 mm Hg, or both.
As blood circulation
to the organs decreases, more severe symptoms can develop, including:
- A severe headache that will not go away
with medicine such as acetaminophen.
- Blurred or dimming vision,
spots in the visual field, or periods of blindness.
urination [less than
2 cups (500 mL) in 24
- Persistent abdominal pain or tenderness, especially on the
upper right side.
- Problems breathing, especially when lying
- HELLP syndrome.
HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening liver disorder.
It is usually related to preeclampsia. Get emergency medical treatment if you
have several symptoms of HELLP syndrome. Symptoms include:
- Pain in the upper right abdomen
- Shoulder, neck, and other upper body pain (this pain also
originates in the liver).
- Nausea and
- Vision problems.
HELLP is short for Hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells), Elevated Liver enzymes (which indicate
liver damage), and Low
Severe preeclampsia increases the risk of seizures
When preeclampsia leads to
seizures that are not from any other cause, it is
eclampsia. Eclampsia is life-threatening for both a
mother and her fetus. During a seizure, the oxygen supply to the fetus is
drastically reduced. Call911 any time a pregnant woman has a