"" Postpartum Preeclampsia: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Diagnosis - Health and Fitness Informatics


Postpartum Preeclampsia: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Diagnosis

Postpartum Preeclampsia: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Diagnosis


Postpartum preeclampsia, a rare but serious condition, can develop within six weeks after giving birth. This causes high blood pressure and elevated protein levels in urine and leads to complications such as strokes and seizures. Symptoms may include headaches, vision changes, hypertension (high blood pressure),  proteinuria (protein in urine), and swelling.

Immediate medical attention is necessary for postpartum preeclampsia including blood pressure medication and close monitoring. Recovery may take several days to weeks, and close monitoring of future pregnancies may be needed.

This article provides information about postpartum preeclampsia for better postpartum health.

What is Postpartum Preeclampsia?

Postpartum preeclampsia is an uncommon but serious medical condition that can happen up to 6 weeks after your child's birth. High blood pressure (hypertension) and high protein levels in urine (proteinuria) are the major symptoms, which may lead to potential complications like brain damage and strokes. It can be fatal, if not treated.

Postpartum preeclampsia can affect anyone, even those who have never had high blood pressure or preeclampsia before.

If you experience symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia, you need immediate medical attention. Once you are diagnosed and treated, the diagnosis for a full recovery is very good.

What is the difference between postpartum preeclampsia and preeclampsia?

Postpartum preeclampsia is not the same as preeclampsia. Preeclampsia occurs during your pregnancy, while Postpartum preeclampsia only happens after your baby is delivered.

When does postpartum preeclampsia start?

Most women develop symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia within 48 hours of their childbirth. However, the condition can occur up to six weeks after delivery.

Does postpartum preeclampsia can resolve without medical intervention?

No, It's crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any symptoms of preeclampsia after giving birth. Get in touch with your healthcare provider right away or head to the nearest emergency room.

Editor's picks

Metroplasty, a solution for uterine abnormalities

Life expectancy with fatty liver

How long does postpartum preeclampsia last?

Postpartum preeclampsia can vary in duration, but it typically resolves within a few days to a few weeks after delivery. Medication to lower your blood pressure can save your BP level. Once your blood pressure is manageable, you’re less at risk for other complications.

What causes high BP (hypertension) after delivery?

Blood pressure normally peaks three to six days postpartum in both normotensive individuals and those with previous hypertension. Pain, drugs (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs]), restoration of vascular tone to prepregnancy level, or excess fluid administration may increase blood pressure.

Can C-section cause high blood pressure?

Women who deliver their baby via c-section are more on the verge of developing high blood pressure after birth. This happens, due to certain reasons that make a C-section delivery significant, rather than the surgery itself.

What are the Risk factors?

If you are experiencing any of the following conditions, you may be at high risk for postpartum preeclampsia.

  • Personal or family history of preeclampsia or postpartum
  • High BP during pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Being older than 40
  • Being younger than 20
  • Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Expecting twins or more


What are the symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia?

Symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia include

  • Swelling of the feet, hands, limbs or face
  • High BP (140/90 mmHg or higher
  • Changes in vision such as light sensitivity or blurred
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • High levels of protein in urine (proteinuria)
  • Quick weight gain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decrease urination

If you experience any of these symptoms after giving birth, seek immediate medical attention as untreated postpartum preeclampsia can have severe consequences.

When do women show postpartum preeclampsia symptoms after delivery?

Most women who develop postpartum preeclampsia after a delay usually show symptoms within the first 7 to 10 days after giving birth. The most common symptoms they experience are related to the nervous system, often starting with a headache. 

What causes postpartum preeclampsia?

The exact cause of postpartum preeclampsia is not completely understood, but it is believed to be related to a combination of factors, including:

  1. Predisposing Factors: Women who had preeclampsia during pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing postpartum preeclampsia.
  2. Hormonal Changes: After childbirth, there are significant hormonal shifts in the body, which may contribute to the development of postpartum preeclampsia.
  3. Endothelial Dysfunction: Preeclampsia and postpartum preeclampsia are associated with dysfunction of the endothelium, the lining of blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure and other symptoms.
  4. Immune System Response: Changes in the immune system after childbirth may also play a role in the development of postpartum preeclampsia.

Early detection and treatment are crucial for managing postpartum preeclampsia. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia, it's essential to seek prompt medical care. 

Editor's picks

What is an anteverted uterus?

What is circumvallate placenta?


How postpartum preeclampsia is diagnosed?

If you suspect you have postpartum preeclampsia, your healthcare provider may suggest the following tests:

  • BP check
  • Urinalysis to check the presence of protein in urine
  • Blood tests to check the liver and kidney functions and a platelet count
  • Brain scan to look for possible brain damage if you delivered via seizure


Your healthcare provider will suggest you the following treatments such as

  • Antiseizure medication, such as magnesium sulfate to stop seizures which is the most common risk of postpartum preeclampsia
  • Blood pressure medication to lower the BP levels
  • Blood thinner (anticoagulant) medication to decrease the risk of blood clots

It is necessary to inform your healthcare provider before taking these medicines, whether you are breastfeeding or not, for the safety of your baby’s health.

Complications of Postpartum preeclampsia:

What happens if postpartum preeclampsia is left untreated?

If you don’t get appropriate treatment or left postpartum preeclampsia untreated, it may lead to severe complications, including:

  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Permanent damage to your brain, kidney, and liver
  • Blood clots
  • HELLP syndrome
  • Excessive fluids in your lungs (pulmonary edema)
  • Death


How can I prevent postpartum preeclampsia?

Preventing postpartum preeclampsia involves close monitoring and proactive measures. Here are some steps that can help reduce the risk:

  • Attend all postpartum check-ups: Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider are crucial for monitoring your blood pressure and overall health after giving birth.
  • Know the symptoms: Educate yourself about the signs of preeclampsia, such as high blood pressure, severe headaches, vision changes, and swelling, and seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.
  • Rest and recovery: Adequate rest and recovery after childbirth are important for your overall well-being. Try to get enough sleep and avoid excessive physical exertion.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, which can help support your overall health.
  • Follow a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help support your recovery and overall health.
  • Monitor your blood pressure: If you have a history of high blood pressure or preeclampsia, your healthcare provider may recommend monitoring your blood pressure at home.
  • Follow your healthcare provider's recommendations: Be sure to follow any specific recommendations or guidelines provided by your healthcare provider to help manage your postpartum health.

It's important to discuss any concerns or questions about postpartum preeclampsia with your healthcare provider, as they can provide personalized guidance based on your medical history and individual circumstances.

How do I recover from postpartum preeclampsia?

After childbirth, it is difficult to recover for women. You need to do your best to meet the needs of your baby and of course, yourself during this time. If you experience symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia, may you need some further stay in the hospital for closer monitoring. You need to rest as much as possible. Make sure to keep all postnatal appointments and freely ask for help when you need it.

When should I go to the hospital for postpartum preeclampsia?

If you experience any symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia, such as severe headaches, high blood pressure, shortening of breath, vision changes, or swelling seek medical attention without delay. Furthermore, if you have any concerns about your health after delivery, it's best to contact your healthcare provider or go to the hospital for evaluation. Prompt medical attention is crucial for the proper management of postpartum preeclampsia. If you are unsure whether your symptoms warrant a visit to the hospital, it's best to make a mistake on the side of caution and seek medical advice.

Can I get postpartum preeclampsia again?

Yes, it is possible to experience postpartum preeclampsia again with subsequent pregnancies, especially if you had it in a previous pregnancy. It's important to discuss your medical history, including any previous experiences with preeclampsia, with your healthcare provider during prenatal care. Your healthcare provider will provide personalized guidance and monitoring to help manage the risk of postpartum preeclampsia in future pregnancies.

Subclinical hypothyroidism in pregnancy?

Powered by Blogger.