The only way to cure preeclampsia is to deliver the baby.
If your baby is developed enough (usually 37 weeks or later), your doctor may want your baby to be delivered so the preeclampsia does not get worse. You may receive medicines to help trigger labor, or you may need a c-section.
If your baby is not fully developed and you have mild preeclampsia, the disease can often be managed at home until your baby has a good chance of surviving after delivery. The doctor will probably recommend:
- Bed rest, lying on your left side most or all of the time
- Drinking plenty of water
- Eating less salt
- Frequent doctor visits to make sure you and your baby are doing well
- Medicines to lower your blood pressure (sometimes)
Sometimes, a pregnant woman with preeclampsia is admitted to the hospital so the health care team can more closely watch the baby and mother.
Treatment in the hospital may include:
- Close monitoring of the mother and baby
- Medicines to control blood pressure and prevent seizures and other complications
- Steroid injections (after 24 weeks) to help speed up the development of the baby's lungs
You and your doctor will continue to discuss the safest time to deliver your baby, considering:
- How close you are to your due date. The further along you are in the pregnancy before you deliver, the better it is for your baby.
- The severity of the preeclampsia. Preeclampsia has many severe complications that can harm the mother.
- How well the baby is doing in the womb.
The baby must be delivered if there are signs of severe preeclampia, including:
- Tests that show your baby is not growing well or is not getting enough blood and oxygen
- The bottom number of your blood pressure is over 110 mmHg or is greater than 100 mmHg consistently over a 24-hour period
- Abnormal liver function test results
- Severe headaches
- Pain in the belly area (abdomen)
- Seizures or changes in mental function (eclampsia)
- Fluid in the mother's lungs (pulmonary edema)
- HELLP syndrome (rare)
- Low platelet count or bleeding
- Low urine output, a lot of protein in the urine, and other signs that your kidneys aren't working properly