By on February 4, 2016

Pre-eclampsia with severe features include several symptoms and features that may correspond to those seen in uncomplicated pregnancies such as increasing leg and hands swelling and headaches. But the severity of these symptoms and the unremitting nature of the signs combined with other features described below should give some women a warning that a potential problem in her pregnancy is developing. Some of the severe symptoms of pre-eclampsia include:
– Unremitting Headaches or migraines
– Visual changes (ie blurry vision, or seeing bright spots)
– Persistent right upper quadrant abdominal pain
– High blood pressure 160/110 at two measurements four hours apart in the sitting position
Headaches or migraines should be definitely monitored, especially for patients who have a history of migraines. Instead of patients thinking “it is a typical migraine,” in the context of pre-eclampsia, an unremitting headache takes on a whole new meaning and patients should review their symptoms with their care provider. Other clinical/laboratory features of severe disease include:
– Pulmonary edema (ie. Fluid in the lungs)
– Cerebral vascular accident (ie stroke)
– Cortical blindness
– Thrombocytopenia (ie. Low platelets)
– Elevated liver function tests
– Low urine output
– Acute renal failure
Women who develop severe preeclampsia at term are simply delivered and closely monitored in a hospital setting for the resolution of the disease postpartum. Women who are preterm and develop preeclampsia with severe features may be considered candidates for conservative management to allow for more time in order to enhance fetal development , however, this must be undertaken with great caution and under medical supervision of high risk pregnancy experts after proper patient counseling.

Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!

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