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Pre-eclampsia After Pregnan​cy Is Possible

A few days after my sister had a baby, she got sick and was diagnosed with preeclampsia. Can pre-eclampsia really​ happen after a pregnancy?​


“Although it is not common, pre-eclampsia can occur up to six weeks after a pregnancy,” says Alan Chang, M.D., an OB-GYN physician at Kelsey-Seybold’s TheWoodlands OB-GYN Clinic. “Pre-eclampsia is a disorder among pregnant women that could affect many organ systems, but frequently manifests itself initially with high blood pressure. This condition puts the woman at risk for stroke or impaired kidney function, impaired liver function, blood clotting problems, fluid on the lungs, seizures and, in severe forms, maternal and infant death. When pre-eclampsia occurs after delivery, the baby is safe, but it can be quite dangerous for the mother.”

The causes of pre-eclampsia are not well understood, although research is ongoing. Maternal death from pre-eclampsia is rare in the United States, but it is a problem in other countries.

“Postpartum pre-eclampsia may be difficult to recognize,” says Dr. Chang. “Some of the symptoms, such as headache, fluid retention, nausea or vomiting, mental confusion and others, may seem at first to be normal for a postpartum woman. However, symptoms also include high blood pressure and protein in the urine, which of course, can only be detected by a healthcare professional. These days, most women leave the hospital only a day or two after having a baby, so it’s important for those women to report any unusual symptoms to their doctor immediately.”​

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Alan Chang, MD, FACOG

​I feel it is my responsibility as a doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology to educate my female patients of the importance of prevention. Patients who better understand their condition can take better control of their health and will achieve better outcomes.