Understanding Preeclampsia Testing

Posted On: November 10, 2016 By CIW

For pregnant women, a preeclampsia diagnosis means a lot of testing, both during and after pregnancy. It may be a very confusing to a woman, wondering why exactly doctors need to run so many tests and what do they mean? Here’s your guide to understanding the testing.

Testing During Pregnancy

Once diagnosed with preeclampsia, doctors will want to monitor various components to ensure the pregnancy is developing smoothly. Here are some of the standard tests that will be performed during your pregnancy:

  • Blood Pressure
    Preeclampsia is diagnosed by consistently high blood pressure in a woman after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Your blood pressure will be monitored to make sure it isn’t too high, which is typically defined as 140/90 or greater. Blood pressure is measured during each prenatal appointment.
  • Urinalysis
    You can expect urine tests to make sure the protein levels in your urine are low. High protein levels in your urine may indicate complications with your kidneys, typically preeclampsia. Healthy kidneys don’t allow a high level of protein to pass into the urine. If your urinalysis shows protein, you may be asked to collect urine samples for further testing.
  • Blood Tests
    Blood tests will be performed to check many different aspects of your health. Blood tests help test your creatinine levels, which may become elevated if your kidneys are impaired. Higher uric acid levels also can detect some negative changes in your kidneys. Additionally, for severe preeclampsia patients or patients with HELLP Syndrome, blood tests may be recommended to analyze your liver function tests, as well as a complete blood count (CBC) with platelet count, since these diagnoses can lead to red blood cells being destroyed, producing a type of anemia.
  • Weight Gain
    Doctors will also routinely monitor your weight to see if it’s in the typical Swelling is perfectly normal during pregnancy, however, excessive weight gain may be a preceding sign of preeclampsia and excess fluid retention.

Testing After Pregnancy

After a preeclamptic pregnancy, preeclampsia symptoms may continue or disappear right after delivery. Because of this, your blood pressure should be monitored after giving birth during your follow-up appointments with your doctor. Additionally, women who have had preeclampsia are at a higher risk for other medical conditions later in life, such as hypertension and heart disease. It’s important to discuss your health with your doctor during your annual check-up about your preeclampsia risk and the potential impact on your heart health and kidney function.  For any other questions regarding preeclampsia or any other FAQ, visit our blog.

Carnegie Imaging for Women blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!

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