- A condition in pregnancy characterized by abrupt hypertension (a sharp rise in blood pressure), albuminuria (leakage of large amounts of the protein albumin into the urine) and edema (swelling) of the hands, feet, and face. Preeclampsia is the most common complication of pregnancy. It affects about 5% of pregnancies. It occurs in the third trimester (the last third) of pregnancy. Preeclampsia occurs most frequently in first pregnancies. It is more common in women who have diabetes or who are carrying twins. Some women seem to have a strong tendency to develop the disease and suffer from preeclampsia with every pregnancy. Preeclampsia is more common in daughters of women who have been affected; in many cases the disease tends to run in families. Preeclampsia can be a sign of serious problems. It may, for example, indicate that the placenta is detaching from the uterus. In some cases, untreated preeclampsia can progress to eclampsia, a life-threatening situation for both mother and fetus characterized by coma and seizures. Treatment is by bed rest and sometimes medication. If that treatment is ineffective, the induction of labor and delivery or a C-section may have to be considered. Preeclampsia always resolves a short time after the baby is born. Preeclampsia is sometimes written pre-eclampsia. The old name for it was toxemia.
* * *Development of hypertension with proteinuria or edema, or both, due to pregnancy or the influence of a recent pregnancy; it usually occurs after the 20th week of gestation, but may develop before this time in the presence of trophoblastic disease. [pre- + G. eklampsis, a shining forth (eclampsia)]- superimposed p. the development of p. in a patient with chronic hypertensive vascular or renal disease; when the hypertension antedates the pregnancy as established by previous blood pressure recordings, a rise in the systolic pressure of 30 mmHg or a rise in the diastolic pressure of 15 mmHg and the development of proteinuria or edema, or both, are required during pregnancy to establish the diagnosis.
* * *pre·eclamp·sia .prē-i-'klam(p)-sē-ə n a serious condition developing in late pregnancy that is characterized by a sudden rise in blood pressure, excessive weight gain, generalized edema, proteinuria, severe headache, and visual disturbances and that may result in eclampsia if untreated compare ECLAMPSIA (a), TOXEMIA OF PREGNANCY
* * *pre·eclamp·sia (pre″ə-klampґse-ə) a complication of pregnancy characterized by hypertension, edema, and/or proteinuria; when convulsions and coma are associated, it is called eclampsia.
Medical dictionary. 2011.