Could you be at risk for preeclampsia?

Up to one in 10 pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia, and it is responsible for about 1 in 5 maternal deaths. Preeclampsia is a life-threatening medical condition that occurs in about 10 percent of women usually during the second half of pregnancy and postpartum. The major signs of preeclampsia are high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Women with preeclampsia can develop headaches and seizures. When that happens, preeclampsia becomes eclampsia.

Identifying preeclampsia

The key to staying healthy during pregnancy is to identify risk factors for any potential problems. For preeclampsia, there are certain conditions and circumstances which make you more likely to get it. Risk factors include mothers that are under 20 or over 35, already having high blood pressure (hypertension) before pregnancy, being of African-American descent, obesity, a family history of preeclampsia (mother or sister), first baby, already having had preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy, having gestational diabetes, type I diabetes, lupus, or renal disease, and stress.

Can you help to prevent preeclampsia? 

Low-dose aspirin (81 mg/day) has been used during pregnancy, most commonly to prevent or delay the onset of preeclampsia. Of course, check with your doctor or midwife before taking any medication. Taking baby aspirin in pregnancy is recommended if you have certain moderate or high pregnancy risks to prevent complications such as preeclampsia.

Want to find out if you are at risk for preeclampsia? In this tool, we guide you through the risks that recommend taking baby aspirin to help prevent preeclampsia based on recommendations by ACOG (American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists). Take the quiz!