Pre-eclampsia has an adverse impact on maternal and fetal health

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Abstract

Pre-eclampsia (preE) is a multifaceted complication found uniquely in the pregnant patient and one that has puzzled scientists for years. PreE is not a single disorder, but a complex syndrome that is produced by various pathophysiological triggers and mechanisms affecting about 5% of obstetrical patients. PreE is a major cause of premature delivery and maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. PreE is characterized by de novo development of hypertension and proteinuria after 20 weeks of gestation and affects nearly every organ system, with the most severe consequences being eclampsia, pulmonary edema, intrauterine growth restriction, and thrombocytopenia. PreE alters the intrauterine environment by modulating the pattern of hormonal signals and activating the detrimental cellular signaling that has been transported to the fetus. The fetus has to adapt to this intrauterine environment with detrimental signals. The adaptive changes increase the risk of disease later in life. This review defines the predisposition and causes of preE and the cellular signaling detrimental to maternal health during preE. Moreover, the risk factors for diseases that are transmitted to the offspring have been addressed in this review. The detrimental signaling molecules that have been overexpressed in preE patients raises the possibility that those signals could be therapeutically blocked one day.

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