Understanding Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome


Preeclampsia is a problem that can occur in the late stages of pregnancy and even during the postpartum (after delivery of your baby) period, and causes high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and sometimes other symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision, breathlessness and swelling of the hands and face. In the past, preeclampsia has been called “toxemia” or “pregnancy-induced hypertension.”

HELLP Syndrome is a variation of preeclampsia that directly affects your liver and blood platelets. “Preeclampsia can be mild or severe. If it isn’t treated, preeclampsia can turn into a serious problem called “eclampsia” in which seizures occur,” says Dr. Catrina Bubier, an OB/GYN and chair of Women’s Services at Sky Ridge Medical Center.

Call your doctor if:

  • Your blood pressure is greater than 150 systolic (the top or first number).
  • Your blood pressure is greater than 100 diastolic (the bottom or second number).
  • You have a severe headache.
  • You have any headache that is not relieved with Tylenol or ibuprofen.
  • You have pain in your belly, especially in the right upper area, below your ribs.
  • You have blurry or double vision, see spots or lose part of your vision.
  • Your swelling is worse.
  • You gain more than 3 pounds in 3 days.
  • You have serious difficulty catching your breath.
  • You have any new or unusual symptoms.
  • Your bleeding is greater than a heavy menses.
  • You have a temp > 100.4.
  • You have any questions or concerns.

If you have any of the above symptoms of preeclampsia, call your doctor immediately. If you are unable to reach your provider you need to go to the emergency room for evaluation.

Be sure to tell them you just had a baby and you had preeclampsia.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here