Preeclampsia (Toxemia)

Medically Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on June 09, 2023
1 min read

Preeclampsia is a serious problem that causes high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine. It can develop any time during the second half of your pregnancy -- even during labor or up to six weeks after delivery.

As a precaution, your doctor may induce labor if you are far enough along. If it's too soon to induce labor, your doctor may prescribe medicine and bed rest.

Most women with preeclampsia have healthy babies, but it can cause low birth weight, premature delivery, and breathing problems for your baby. It can also put stress on your own organs.

  • You feel bloated, your ankles are very swollen, or your face or upper body has swelling when you wake up.
  • You have headaches, blurred vision, or sensitivity to light.
  • You have seizures or convulsions.
  • You have upper abdominal pain, especially if located on the right side below your ribs.
  • Get early and regular prenatal care so your doctor can monitor your blood pressure and protein levels in your urine. This can detect preeclampsia early even if you don't have symptoms.
  • If you have chronic high blood pressure, work with your doctor to keep it under control. Limit salt and get regular exercise. Rest on your left side as much as possible.
  • Don't smoke or drink alcohol.
  • Eat healthy, regular meals and take a prenatal vitamin.