Preeclampsia is a rapidly progressive disorder in pregnant women that is characterized by elevated blood pressure and protein in urine. Affecting both the pregnant mother and the growing, unborn child, it can occur during pregnancy and immediately after a woman gives birth.
Preeclampsia is a leading cause of premature birth. Each year, the disorder is to blame for about 76,000 maternal deaths and a half-million infant deaths worldwide. Doctors do not fully understand what causes preeclampsia, and the only cure for the condition begins with delivery.