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What Is Preeclampsia?

One of the best ways to stay healthy during pregnancy is to see your doctor for regular checkups. Even if you feel well, you might have a health condition that can affect you and your baby.

One example is a condition called preeclampsia. When a pregnant woman has preeclampsia, her blood pressure will be too high. This can become a medical emergency.

Your heart pushes blood through your body with every beat, like water moving through a network of hoses. As blood pushes against the sides of your arteries and veins, the force of the pushing is measured as blood pressure.

If the force is greater than it should be, that’s known as high blood pressure.

You can have high blood pressure during pregnancy and not know it. That’s why it’s so important to see your doctor for prenatal exams.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms, which can be a sign of preeclampsia:

  • A headache that does not get better
  • Blurry vision, seeing spots, or other vision changes
  • Pain in the upper stomach area
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling of the face, hands, or feet
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Breathing problems

Your doctor will check your blood pressure and order urine tests during your prenatal checkups. If you have preeclampsia, your doctor will monitor you and your baby until you give birth.

Preeclampsia usually goes away completely within six weeks of birth.

Preeclampsia is somewhat common. It occurs in about 1 in 25 pregnancies.

You have a higher risk for preeclampsia if you:

  • Have obesity.
  • Are giving birth for the first time.
  • Have a family history of preeclampsia.
  • Had preeclampsia during a prior pregnancy.
  • Have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure and/or chronic kidney disease.
  • Have a blood clotting disorder, lupus or diabetes.
  • Are pregnant with twins or triplets.
  • Are older than 40.

Learn about pregnancy benefits for Parkland HEALTHfirst (STAR Medicaid) and Parkland KIDSfirst (CHIP Perinate) members including prenatal doctor visits, labor and delivery, and more.

Parkland Community Health Plan members: Want a little boost? Try a friendly chat with Pyx!

Pyx is a mobile app designed for pregnant women age 18 and older.

Parkland HEALTHfirst (STAR Medicaid) members can use Pyx to:

  • find a ride to the doctor
  • find out where to get healthy food at no or low cost
  • learn about fun activities to help you relax
  • read jokes to make you smile
  • connect with the 24-Hour Nurse Line
  • get in touch with Member Services

To learn more, call PCHP Member Services at 1-888-672-2277.


Parkland Community Health Plan