Prenatal Care

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about prenatal care.

What effects can preeclampsia have on mom and baby?

Dr. Jiri Sonek explains the effects of preeclampsia. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

What effects can preeclampsia have on mom and baby?

Preeclampsia can affect adversely both the mother and the baby. Firstly, as far as the mother goes, it can affect many organ systems. This is especially true if it occurs early in pregnancy and if it's severe. It can not only cause high blood pressure and protein in the urine, but it can also cause problems with the liver, and it can cause even problems with the brain. If it occurs early in pregnancy, it can also have a very severe effect on the fetus. The fetus can be growth restricted. In other words, it can be very small. It needs to be delivered early in pregnancy, so it has all of the problems that are associated with prematurity. And with that also comes not only serious problems immediately after birth, but oftentimes, long term. There is now also evidence that preeclampsia can cause significant problems in the mother long term.


Preeclampsia can have the following effects:

For mother: Damage vital organs - such as the kidneys, liver and brain – with potentially significant long-term effects. This is especially true when the condition is severe and begins early in pregnancy. Besides organ damage, untreated preeclampsia can cause seizures and stroke.

For baby: Restricts growth of the baby in the womb. And babies of mothers with preeclampsia need to be delivered early. Preeclampsia can cause the placenta to separate from the wall of the uterus, resulting in premature delivery. This results in below normal birth weight and health complications typically associated with premature birth.

Learn more:

Gregory Siewny, MD, Hilltop Obstetrics and Gynecology; Charles Hageman, MD, Hilltop Obstetrics and Gynecology; Jiri Sonek, MD, Perinatal Partners