• Definition

    Preeclampsia is a pregnancy condition in which high blood pressure and protein in the urine develop after the 20th week (late 2nd or 3rd trimester) of pregnancy.

    Alternative Names

    Toxemia; Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    The exact cause of preeclampsia is not known. Possible causes include:

    • Autoimmune disorders
    • Blood vessel problems
    • Diet
    • Genes

    Preeclampsia occurs in a small percentage of pregnancies. Risk factors include:

    • First pregnancy
    • Multiple pregnancy (twins or more)
    • Obesity
    • Older than age 35
    • Past history of diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney disease