Hypertension caused by preeclampsia can adversely affect the fetus by causing constriction of the placental arteries. Arterial constriction may result in severe reduction in the blood flow to areas of the placenta. If the blood flow remains constricted, areas of the placenta may "die", putting the baby in distress.
Update Date 7/28/2014
Updated by: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.