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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

Symptoms

A woman with mild preeclampsia may not notice any symptoms, or she may have only mild swelling of the hands or feet. However, most pregnant women have some degree of swelling of the feet. So not all swelling indicates preeclampsia.

Symptoms of severe preeclampsia can include:

  • Headache

  • Visual changes

  • Nausea and abdominal pain, usually in the upper abdomen

  • Difficulty breathing

Eclampsia causes seizures, which are jerking movements of the arms and legs. During a seizure, a woman is likely to lose consciousness, and she may lose control of her bladder or bowels.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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