Pre-eclampsia usually happens in the second half of pregnancy (from around 20 weeks) or soon after a baby is delivered. Early signs include high blood pressure and having protein in the urine. Further symptoms may include swelling of the feet, ankles, face and hands, severe headache, vision problems and pain just below the ribs. As delivering the baby is the only ‘cure’ for pre-eclampsia, it is a cause of preterm birth.
1 in 10 pregnancies in the UK are complicated by pre-eclampsia.
- Around 5 in 1,000 pregnancies are complicated by severe pre-eclampsia.
- 15–20% of all preterm births are attributable to pre-eclampsia.
- A woman who has had pre-eclampsia has a 16% risk of having it again in a future pregnancy.
 NHS Choices. Pre-eclampsia. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Pre-eclampsia/Pages/Introduction.aspx (accessed 2 February 2016).
 Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. Maternity information. Possible complications in pregnancy. 2013. Available at: http://www.royalberkshire.nhs.uk/patient-information-leaflets/Maternity/Maternity---possible-complications-in-pregnancy.htm (accessed 2 February 2016).
 Clyburn P, Collis R, Harries S. Obstetric anaesthesia for developing countries. Oxford: OUP, 2010.
 Jeyabalan A. Epidemiology of preeclampsia: impact of obesity. Nutrition Reviews 2013;71(suppl 1):18–25.
 NHS Choices. Pre-eclampsia: causes. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pre-eclampsia/Pages/Causes.aspx (accessed 2 February 2016).Hide details
Lynsey and Mark Bell’s baby Rory was born sleeping after she suffered severe pre-eclampsia.
I was 25 weeks pregnant and my story, like many others, starts with a routine appointment with the midwife. Until she asked me to pop back the week after and just get my blood pressure checked again.