Pre eclampsia, which is also called toxemia, is a problem that occurs in some women during pregnancy. It manifests during the second half
of pregnancy. Affecting at least 5 percent of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure, swelling in the limbs or face, and protein in the urine. The high blood pressure can affect the brain, kidneys, liver, and lungs. If the woman develops seizures or coma, the condition is known as eclampsia.
The placenta is the spongy material in the mother’s uterus that nourishes the fetus. Some experts believe that a problem with the placenta causes pre eclampsia. The pregnant woman has spasms of the blood vessels, which increase her blood pressure. The blood flow to the placenta is impaired. If the blood pressure is not controlled, it can damage the placenta and cause death of the fetus.
Risk factors for developing pre eclampsia
- If pregnant mother is younger than 18 or older than 40 years of age.
- Low socioeconomic status.
- Multiple gestation such as twins or triplets.
- Molar pregnancy, an abnormal condition that mimics a normal pregnancy but is actually a tumor.
- History of chronic high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disorder.
- Family history of the disorder (i.e., a mother, sister, grandmother or aunt who had the disorder).
- Women with higher-than-average body fat.