is a serious condition that occurs in approximately 7 percent of pregnancies and negatively affects both mother and baby. It is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by very high blood pressure, swelling and protein in the urine; that may end in Eclampsia
which is extremely serious. It frequently occurs in the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
It can be fatal to both mother and child, and doctors can be forced to abort or deliver the baby (often prematurely), the effects usually end shortly after, but may persist in the mother for a few days or more.
It is most common with the first child, but is not uncommon in latter ones.
The cause is unknown. There are a number of theories that try to explain it, and it may in fact have different causes ranging from bacterial infection to a mothers inappropriate immune response to the placenta.
Treatments used to include bedrest, but it has been discovered that this makes no difference to the outcome.