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TV Series Has Everyone Talking about Little Known, But Serious, Pregnancy Risk

If you are one of the eight million viewers of PBS’s historical drama, Downton Abbey, then you’re probably still reeling over the shocking and awful death of Lady Sybil.

The beloved character dies from preeclampsia after giving birth, leaving many viewers wondering about the condition. Preeclampsia, also called toxemia, is caused by high blood pressure and high protein in the urine and, if untreated, can lead to seizures, organ damage and in tragic cases, maternal or child death. In the United States, preeclampsia affects up to eight percent of pregnancies.

While vast improvements in detection and treatment of preeclampsia have been made, it is still a serious condition that is best detected and treated with routine prenatal care.

At prenatal appointments, expecting mothers are monitored for preeclampsia and routine blood and urine tests can effectively diagnose the condition.

Severe headaches, sudden weight gain, and changes in vision are some common symptoms of preeclampsia. For a complete list of symptoms and more information on the condition, visit the Preeclampsia Foundation website.

Contact your doctor if you have concerns about preeclampsia or other medical issues.