Preeclampsia: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy that refers to the presence of high blood pressure (hypertension) and protein in the urine (proteinuria) in a pregnant woman.

Women with mild preeclampsia may not have any signs or symptoms of the condition. Those with more severe cases of preeclampsia may have signs and symptoms in addition to the characteristic high blood pressure and protein in the urine. These other associated symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain, decreased urine output, altered mental status, and fluid in the lungs (known as pulmonary edema). Changes in reflexes and vision changes may also be present.

Causes of preeclampsia

Doctors do not understand the exact cause of preeclampsia, but it may be related to a disorder of the lining of blood vessels. A major risk of preeclampsia is the development of eclampsia, in which seizures occur.

Other preeclampsia symptoms and signs


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.