What is Preeclampsia after Delivery?

Preeclampsia after delivery otherwise known as Postpartum Preeclampsia is a medical condition that develops after the childbirth or delivery.

It is a serious form of complication post-pregnancy i.e... after pregnancy

It is characterized with high blood pressure and proteinuria... (protein in the urine) in a woman previously known to have normal blood pressure readings and no protein in the urine throughout her pregnancy.

Postpartum Preeclampsia is not very common... thank goodness, and when it occurs...it happens mostly within 48 -  72 hours, but keep in mind, it can develop... up to six (6) weeks after the delivery of the baby or childbirth.

Symptoms of Preeclampsia after Delivery

  • High blood pressure usually greater than 140/90 mmHg
  • Copious amount of protein in the urine ... usually more than 300 mg per day
  • Visual disturbances...like blurred vision, new onset of light sensitivity to the eyes
  • Incessant headaches during pregnancy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abdominal pains.... more than usual for a pregnant lady
  • Weakness
  • Sudden hands and facial swelling after delivery
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Low amount of urine...despite drinking enough fluids
  • Sudden and profound weight gain within short period of time after delivery

What Causes Preeclampsia after Delivery?

The cause of Preeclampsia after delivery in not well understood. Medical scientists believe part of the disease process must have started during the pregnancy, but produced no signs or symptoms, until after the delivery of the baby.

Even though there may be no clear evidence, abnormal placental formation and partly the endothelial dysfunction is being vigorously researched now, as part of the possible causes of postpartum preeclampsia

3 Common Postpartum Preeclampsia Risk Factors

 1)  Excessive body weight with body mass index (BMI) of over 35... (Obesity)

 2)  If you develop hypertension during your latest pregnancy or have traces or confirmed protein in the urine during your last pregnancy.

3)  New mothers who had Cesarean Section for the latest pregnancy are also at the risk of developing preeclampsia after C. section.


Discuss fully, all your options with your pregnancy doctor / obstetrician gynecologist and other healthcare providers, about how to reduce your risks.

 It may be of interest to you, to know the latest information from the, United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendation published online on April 08, 2014.          

The task force reviewed systematically the harms and benefits of Low-dose Aspirin for the prevention of the mortality and morbidity of pre eclampsia.

The review included 19 randomized controlled trials and 2 observational studies.....

That I summarized here.... The task force recommended that, women with high risk pregnancies should   a) Have a full and thorough consultation with their pregnancy doctors and care givers b) Suggested that, a Low-dose Aspirin 81 mg, should be taken, every day after 12 weeks of confirmed pregnancy (gestation)

                  Women with high risk pregnancies includes

  • those with high blood pressure before getting pregnant
  • women with Diabetes Mellitus before getting pregnant... i.e.,  "diabetic and pregnant"
  • ladies carrying more than one baby (fetus)... like twins, triplets etc.
  • pregnant women with kidney disease
  • pregnant ladies who have had premature / preterm births before.
  • a pregnant woman who have had pre eclampsia in previous pregnancy

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) also suggested that, women with other Moderate Risk Factors like those:

  • Who are pregnant and over the age of 40
  • with family history of pre eclampsia  (sister or mother)
  • with body mass index (BMI) greater than 35.....

 can also benefit from the treatment....

-What is very profound about this recommendation is that, in clinical trials... Low-dose Aspirin was able to reduce the risk of pre eclampsia by a WHOPPING... 24 percent..!!!

-In these systematic review, Low-dose Aspirin was able to reduce the risk of Intrauterine Growth Restriction by 20 percent

-It also reduced the risk of premature birth by 14 percent.

-The research and ongoing reviews of the exact causes and prevention of preeclampsia is ongoing, but this review says Low-dose Aspirin appears to cause no short-term harm during the pregnancy.

There was no report of any increase risk of:

  • Bleeding in the new baby's brain
  • Separation of the placenta from the womb.... (placental abruptio)
  • excessive bleeding after the delivery of the baby

Keep in mind, this is a recommendation. You have to have, a full and thorough discussion and explanation from your medical doctor and obtain her / his approval and prescription for this treatment...!!!

Complications of Postpartum Preeclampsia

  • Postpartum Eclampsia
  • Stroke   (cerebrovascular accident)
  • HELLP syndrome
  • Pulmonary edema

In conclusion, any medical condition, that can easily maim and / or cause death like Preeclampsia, and of which clear prevention strategies are not available.... requires all the efforts one can manage to use in reducing the risk elements of this pregnancy complication.                              

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