Symptoms and causes

What is it?

Pre-eclampsia, sometimes referred to as pregnancy poisoning, is characterised by high blood pressure and proteins in the urine.

Pregnancy requires an adjustment of the blood circulation: the blood volume increases, while at the same time the blood pressure drops slightly. In the case of pre-eclampsia, this does not happen to a sufficient extent. The blood volume remains smaller and the blood vessels contract, causing the blood pressure to rise. Inadequate adjustment of the blood circulation leads to lower blood flow to the placenta, kidneys, liver and brain. This slowly disrupts the functioning of these organs, causing all kinds of problems, such as slowing down the baby's growth and premature birth, kidney failure, liver bleeding and convulsions in the mother.


The cause is unknown, but it is probably due to an abnormal predisposition of the blood vessels at the place where the placenta is attached to the uterus.


It is not always easy to recognise the symptoms yourself, but be wary of the following: pronounced fluid accumulation in the face, hands and feet, severe headaches, visual disturbances such as eye floaters, double vision or flashes, severe abdominal pain under the ribs or when you generally feel less well and your baby becomes less active.

Diagnosis and treatment

Your blood pressure, your pulse, the presence of proteins in the urine and your baby's growth will be thoroughly examined at each visit.

Treatment centres and specialisations

Pregnancy and birth

Latest publication date: 21/01/2021