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Preeclampsia Symptoms & Diagnosis


Women with pre-eclampsia may have symptoms or they may feel fine, especially if the pre-eclampsia is mild. It is very important to see your doctor regularly during pregnancy to detect problems early.

Symptoms may include:

  • Headaches
  • Bloating or water retention
  • Noticeably swollen ankles or feet (some mild swelling during pregnancy may be normal)
  • Swelling of the face and upper body when waking up
  • Blurred vision or sensitivity to light
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seizures or convulsions


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam.

Tests may include:

Blood Pressure Measurement

A blood pressure reading of 140/90 or higher is considered high whether or not a woman is pregnant. During pregnancy, blood pressure in the third trimester is compared with blood pressure before pregnancy or during the beginning of the second trimester. Blood pressure is elevated during pregnancy if:

  • The first number in your blood pressure reading has risen 30 mmHg or more, or
  • The second number has risen 15 mmHg or more

Fluid Retention Assessment

Sometimes fluid retention is obvious during the physical exam. Fluid retention may cause weight gain of more than five pounds in one week. Sudden weight gain over one or two days is almost certainly due to fluid retention.

Urine Test

Under normal circumstances there is no or minimal measurable protein in urine. In pre-eclampsia, significant amounts of protein usually appears in the urine.

Blood Tests

Blood test include checking:

  • Complete blood count
  • Clotting factors
  • Electrolytes
  • Kidney and liver function

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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