Pre-eclampsia Complications

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Pre-eclampsia can cause several complications that may lead to life threatening conditions for the mother as well as the developing baby. These complications can develop if preeclampsia is not diagnosed early and monitored closely.

Some of the complications of pre-eclampsia include:

  • Eclampsia - Eclampsia is a rare but serious complication of preeclampsia that refers to convulsions or fits. Eclampsia may develop any time after 20 weeks or 5 months of pregnancy. During the fit, the mother’s muscles stiffen and convulse or twitch repeatedly. This leads to locking of the jaw and jerky movements of the arms and legs. The mother is also at risk of losing consciousness. Convulsions may last up to a minute.

Usually, a mother can achieve a complete recovery after the fit. However, in cases of severe convulsions, there is a risk of residual brain damage. Death due to eclampsia is rare and is brought about by suffocation or severe brain damage. The unborn baby may also suffocate and die during the convulsions.

  • HELLP syndrome - This is a rare disorder that refers to liver damage and blood clotting and may occur before or immediately after delivery. The term HELLP stands for “hemolysis (breakdown of blood cells), “elevated liver enzymes” (a sign of liver damage) and “low platelet count” (leading to bleeding problems).
  • Stroke - Depletion of blood supply to the brain during seizures and due to high blood pressure may cause a brain hemorrhage and lead to stroke. Stroke may be life threatening.
  • Pulmonary edema or collection of fluids in the lungs
  • Renal failure or kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Babies may have to be delivered prematurely. This leads to several complications in the baby such as breathing difficulties or neonatal respiratory distress syndrome. The baby might also be stillborn or suffer from IUGR (intrauterine growth retardation).

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, June 19). Pre-eclampsia Complications. News-Medical. Retrieved on May 18, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "Pre-eclampsia Complications". News-Medical. 18 May 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "Pre-eclampsia Complications". News-Medical. (accessed May 18, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. Pre-eclampsia Complications. News-Medical, viewed 18 May 2024,


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Study reveals patterns of high blood pressure in pregnant women, linked to maternal health risks