Pre-eclampsia appears in the latter half of pregnancy, and is recognised by high blood pressure and protein in the urine in the mother. In some cases, the mother can be unaffected by the condition, but in severe cases, pre-eclampsia becomes life-threatening for mother and baby, with organ failure and risk of convulsions in the mother. The child risks poor growth and development because of insufficient placental function. The only treatment is delivery of the baby and placenta. Pre-eclampsia is therefore an important cause of premature birth.
Placenta vital for normal development
The causes of pre-eclampsia are unknown, but involve the placenta. The placenta is vital for a normal development of the pregnancy. Problems in the formation or function of the placenta are thought to be an important mechanism in the development of pre-eclampsia. It is unknown why this happens.
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Norwegian Institute of Public Health