How is preeclampsia diagnosed?

Updated: Nov 29, 2018
  • Author: Kee-Hak Lim, MD; Chief Editor: Ronald M Ramus, MD  more...
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Because the clinical manifestations of preeclampsia can be heterogeneous, diagnosing preeclampsia may not be straightforward. In particular, because the final diagnosis of gestational hypertension can only be made in retrospect, a clinician may be forced to treat some women with gestational hypertension as if they have preeclampsia. In addition, if a woman has underlying renal or cardiovascular disease, the diagnosis of preeclampsia may not become clear until the disease becomes severe.

Mild to moderate preeclampsia may be asymptomatic. Many cases are detected through routine prenatal screening.

Preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy is strongly associated with recurrence in subsequent pregnancies. A history of gestational hypertension or preeclampsia should strongly raise clinical suspicion.

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