Knowing about potential health issues during pregnancy and their early symptoms can be a good preventative measure, though it can be confronting. Being a parent means looking out for your family’s health (including yours), so think of understanding warning signs of pregnancy complications as good parenting! Don’t worry – you may not experience complications, but it is helpful to know how to spot them.

What is pre-eclampsia?

The warning symptoms leading up to ‘Eclampsia’ are called ‘Pre-eclampsia’. ‘Eclampsia’ involves having convulsions – less than 1% of pre-eclampsia cases progress to this stage.

Early symptoms of preeclampsia may include:
● High blood pressure
● Protein in the urine (should be checked for at antenatal check-ups)

Later stage symptoms of preeclampsia may include:
● Blurred vision
● Seeing flashing lights
● Feelings of illness
● Fluid retention in the face, hands, feet, or other parts of the body.
● Abdomen pain
● Vomiting or nausea
● Producing less urine
● Difficulty drawing breath
● The slow growth of your unborn baby (‘intra-uterine growth restriction’)

Pre-eclampsia can cause complications with the kidney and brain, and in a small number of cases lead to pre-term birth.


Pre-eclampsia is sometimes managed by lowering blood pressure or using medication to dull other symptoms that may be present. Some cases of pre-eclampsia are monitored over a short hospital stay.

Talk to your GP if you’re presenting with any of the above symptoms, or any other physical changes you don’t understand during pregnancy.

Pre-eclampsia is only cured by delivering the baby. This sometimes informs the decision to induce labor early.

Information about pregnancy issues can be hard to hear. If absorbing this information has been challenging, try to keep calm. Remember, by staying informed, you are putting yourself in the best possible position to keep you and your baby safe. Take pride in educating yourself as a parent. If you experience any unfamiliar symptoms during pregnancy, talk to your GP about how to manage them.

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