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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Preeclampsia: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Pregnancy and Childbirth


Alternate Names : Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension (PIH), Toxemia

Preeclampsia | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

Giving birth is the only cure for preeclampsia. Preeclampsia limits blood flow to the placenta and the fetus. If a woman has symptoms, flow may already be reduced by 50%. The healthcare provider may decide to induce labor or to wait for labor to occur naturally. The following factors will determine the decision:

  • condition of the mother and fetus
  • dilation of the cervix
  • eclampsia
  • failure of fetal growth as measured by pregnancy ultrasounds
  • fetal age
  • fetal distress
  • fluid in the lungs
  • presence of labor
  • severity of the condition
  • the wishes of the mother
  • If the symptoms are mild, outpatient treatment is common. This includes bed rest at home and biweekly exams in the provider's office. If symptoms do not improve, hospitalization may be needed. Fetal testing will be done to decide if early delivery is possible.

    In severe cases, the provider may decide to induce labor with medications. Delivery may be induced if any of the following conditions occur:

  • destruction of red blood cells, known as hemolysis
  • elevated liver function tests
  • falling platelet count
  • pain in the right upper abdomen
  • persistent and severe headache
  • signs of kidney failure
  • very high blood pressure for more than 24 hours
  • Treating severe preeclampsia means controlling the woman's blood pressure. A C-section may be needed. Medications to prevent eclampsia include magnesium sulfate and hydralazine. Anticonvulsants may be used to prevent seizures.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Magnesium sulfate may cause nausea, vomiting, and breathing problems. These can often be avoided with careful monitoring of serum magnesium levels. Other medications may cause allergic reactions and stomach upset.

    What happens after treatment for the condition?

    A woman may be at risk for developing eclampsia up to 6 weeks after delivery. She will have regular visits to the healthcare provider, as well as regular blood and urine tests.

    How is the condition monitored?

    Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

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    Preeclampsia: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Eva Martin, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 05/08/01

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