Narrator: This is Science Today. Preeclampsia is a disease which strikes mothers during pregnancy. Dr. Susan Fisher of the University of California, San Francisco says preeclampsia, or toxemia, usually develops in young, first time mothers.
Fisher: The mother shows symptoms which include high blood pressure and protein in the urine and the fetus essentially stops growing.
Narrator: Fisher says there's really no way to tell if a woman will develop preeclampsia before becoming pregnant.
Fisher: The genetic linkages and inheritance patterns are not strong enough to warrant any counseling based on family history. So there's really no way to diagnose preeclampsia until after a woman gets pregnant and after she develops the full blown disease.
Narrator: Fisher recommends pregnant women at risk, such as teens, women over 40 or of African-American descent, see an obstetrician regularly. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.