What are the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia?

Updated: Jun 12, 2018
  • Author: Michael P Carson, MD; Chief Editor: Edward H Springel, MD, FACOG  more...
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Symptoms of preeclampsia may include visual disturbances, typically scintillations and scotomata, presumed to be due to cerebral vasospasm. The woman may describe new-onset headache that is frontal, throbbing, or similar to a migraine headache, and gastrointestinal complaints of sudden, new-onset, constant epigastric pain that may be moderate to severe in intensity and due to hepatic swelling and inflammation, with stretch of the liver capsule.

Although mild lower extremity edema is common in normal pregnancy, descriptions of rapidly increasing or nondependent edema may be a signal of developing preeclampsia; note, however, that edema is no longer included among the criteria for the diagnosis of preeclampsia. In addition, rapid weight gain is a result of edema due to capillary leak as well as renal sodium and fluid retention.

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