Welcome to Australian Action on Preeclampsia’s website. We endeavor to educate, raise awareness and support people that have been affected by the condition.

What is preeclampsia (PE)?

Preeclampsia is an illness, which only occurs in pregnancy. Indeed, it is the most common serious medical disorder of human pregnancy. It is sometimes referred to as preeclamptic toxaemia (abbreviated to PET), and many years ago it was also known as “kidney fits”. Preeclampsia can affect both the mother and her unborn baby. It usually arises during the second half of pregnancy, and can even occur some days after delivery. In the mother, it can cause several problems of which she may be unaware – such as high blood pressure (hypertension), leakage of protein into the urine (proteinuria), thinning of the blood (coagulopathy) and liver dysfunction. Occasionally, preeclampsia can lead to convulsions (fits), a serious complication known as eclampsia. Also, when a pregnancy is complicated by PE, the baby may grow more slowly than normal in the womb or suffer a potentially harmful oxygen deficiency.

Medical information supplied by:
Professor Shaun Brennecke
Director of Perinatal Medicine, Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne

Preeclampsia Symptoms

High blood pressure

High blood pressure during pregnancy is one of the biggest red flags that preeclampsia may be developing. And even if it’s not a symptom of preeclampsia, it can still be a sign of a problem.

High blood pressure is traditionally defined as blood pressure of 140/90 or greater, measured on two separate occasions six hours apart. During pregnancy, a rise in the lower number (diastolic) of 15 degrees or more, or a rise in the upper number (systolic) of 30 degrees or more can also be a cause for concern.


Dull or severe, throbbing headaches, often described as migraine-like that just won’t go away are cause for concern.

Swelling (Edema)

A certain amount of swelling is normal during pregnancy. Unless you’re one of a lucky few, you may notice a little extra puffiness in your feet (good luck fitting into your pre-pregnancy shoes!). Edema, on the other hand, is the accumulation of excess fluid, and can be a concern when it occurs in your face, around your eyes, or in your hands.

Changes in Vision

Vision changes are one of the most serious symptoms of preeclampsia. They may be associated with central nervous system irritation or be an indication of swelling of the brain (cerebral edema).

Common vision changes include sensations of flashing lights, auras, light sensitivity, or blurry vision or spots.

Latest News & Events

  • Florence Foster Jenkins – AAPEC Film Fundraising Night

    Come and join us on 26th May to see Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant in a film based on a New York socialite who was convinced of her Opera singing ability. Time: 6.30 for 7pm start, Date: 26th May Venue: Lido Cinemas, 675 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn Cost: $25, includes a drink or choctop icecream and a gift bag. Click here…

  • Melbourne Walk to Raise Awareness of Preeclampsia

    Come and walk at Albert Park Lake to raise awareness of Preeclampsia, Eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. Location: Albert Park Lake, Sunday 28th August 2016, 10am start Click here for tickets

  • 2016 Preeclampsia Seminar

    Come to our free seminar and hear the latest on new tests to predict and diagnose Preeclampsia and also about how Preeclampsia affects mothers and babies. Royal Womens Hospital Tuesday 23rd August, 7.30pm-9.30pm Light refreshments available Please register your interest here

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