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Preeclampsia is the leading cause of maternal death and newborn illness worldwide.  Diagnosed by hypertension and the presence of protein in the urine (also known as proteinuria), preeclampsia is only cured by the delivery of the baby.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecoloigsts (ACOG) released a statement last week changing the guidelines to diagnose preeclampia in expecting mothers.  According to the new Task Force Report on Hypertension in Pregnancy by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a diagnosis now no longer requires high levels of protein to be found in urine samples.

“This Task Force report changes the paradigm that we use in diagnosing preeclampsia from one that is dependent on new onset hypertension and proteinuria,” said James N. Martin, Jr, MD, past president of The College and vice chair for research and academic development and chief of the division of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS. “The problem is that many patients with preeclampsia don’t have enough proteinuria to meet the former criteria, so their diagnosis and treatment is delayed.” (source)

Preeclampsia affects about 5 % of pregnant women and can lead to preterm delivery, stroke, seizure, and maternal death.  Symptoms of preeclampsia include high blood pressure, swelling, excessive weight gain, visual disturbances, abdominal pain and headaches.  For more information, please visit The Preeclampsia Foundation.

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Author: Jodi Selander


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