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How does preeclampsia affect your baby?

Every year, an average of 7 percent of pregnant women will develop preeclampsia. The term may seem familiar, but what the disorder means may not.

Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs at any time during pregnancy. The most common symptoms include high blood pressure, swelling of the hands and feet and high protein. The disorder can have catastrophic consequences for mother and baby. Take a closer look at what may happen to your baby when you suffer from preeclampsia.

Premature birth

One of the most common side effects of preeclampsia is premature birth. Throughout the world, out of the 13 million babies born before week 37, preeclempsia causes at least 20 percent of them. The effects of premature birth can vary, and no two babies seem exactly alike. Unfortunately, some children wind up with problems that affect them throughout their lives, such as blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.


Acidosis occurs when large amounts of lactic acid build up inside the baby. Since preeclampsia destroys the placenta, the result is the baby is not able to get the nutrients necessary to thrive. If the baby cannot get what it needs to grow, the body starts to shut down nonvital systems in order to conserve for the brain and heart. Doing so creates an influx of lactic acid, thus causing the baby to experience acidosis.

Fetal growth restriction

A condition preeclampsia causes in babies is IGR or intrauterine growth restriction. If preeclampsia continues too long, it will break down the integrity of the placenta thereby cutting the baby's nutrition supply off or restricting it. This causes the baby to stop growing. Fetal size is greatly affected. The good news is treating preeclampsia in the mom reverses this and the baby starts growing again.

Preeclampsia is one thing expectant mothers need to pay particularly close attention to. Ignoring the warning signs and failing to seek treatment results in unnecessary complications. The only cure for the condition is the full delivery of the baby and placenta. Obviously, this cannot happen in children who will not survive outside the womb. Therefore, get yourself checked and tell your doctors about changes in how you feel.

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