By Robin Clutters

DENVER (CBS4)– May is Pre-eclampsia Awareness Month. Pre-eclampsia affects two out of 100 pregnant women. It’s a blood pressure condition believed to originate in the placenta, which is why it’s only seen during pregnancy. It typically affects women toward the end of their pregnancy, and sometimes after they deliver.

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On CBSN Denver, we talked to Dr. Beth Carewe from Premier OBGYN at Rose Medical Center. She says women with underlying health conditions are most at risk for pre-eclampsia, as well as women who are over 35.

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“Pre-eclampsia leads to elevated blood pressure, which can affect other organs such as the liver and the kidneys,” says Dr. Carewe. “It can also affect some of the blood clotting pathways in our bodies, which can affect how blood is transferred through the placenta. That can sometimes even affect fetal growth.”

Symptoms include headaches, spots in your vision, swelling in the hands and feet, and even pain on your right side under your ribs.

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“The most important thing is to tell you’re doctor if you’re having any of the signs of pre-eclampsia,” says Dr. Carewe. “Your doctor will check your blood pressure and can do other tests to see if there are any other changes.”

Women who have a history of pre-eclampsia are at a higher risk for developing other cardiovascular diseases as they get older.

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“It’s very important to make sure that even if you’re outside of childbearing age, if you’ve had pre-eclampsia, make sure to let your doctor know so they can assess your risk accordingly.”

Robin Clutters