It's a serious condition that affects eight to ten percent of pregnant women. Left unchecked the results can be deadly. NEWS 12's Jayne Ruben examines what can be done when "Pre-eclampsia" strikes.
Sade Parker is just three-days-old and three pounds. She was born by cesarean 10 weeks early to save both her life and her mother's.
Delores Parker, Mom: At 31 weeks, I started getting terrible headaches and feeling sick and for three days. I couldn't get out of bed because of swelling on my hand and foot and entire body.
Delores was rushed to the hospital where the doctors realized she had a condition called Preeclampsia.
"You look much better. She was very, very sick."
Preeclampsia interferes with the functioning of the placenta and its symptoms are varied but can include high blood pressure, extreme swelling, and protein in urine. The only cure is birth and that sometimes means delivering the baby early.
John Katz, M.D.: It not only affects the mother but severe preeclampsia can obviously affect the growth and development of the fetus. And as a result of the delivery, a premature newborn is then put in intensive care.
There are some measures you can take to prevent preeclampsia: enter pregnancy in the best possible condition.
Get early and regular prenatal care. Your obstetrician will make regular checks for preeclampsia.
Bring the father into the picture. A new study shows preecalmpsia is 80 percent more common when the father if over 45-years-old.