The cardiovascular system undergoes a host of changes in association with the development of preeclampsia, which ultimately lead to the classic low cardiac output-high systemic vascular resistant state. A newer hypothesis suggests that exaggeration of the normal for pregnancy hyperdynamic, low-resistance state commencing in early gestation is responsible for the genesis of the clinically apparent vasoconstrictive disease in late pregnancy. Such events may also lead to the vascular damage that persists into later life. In preeclampsia, cardiac contractility is preserved but both steady and pulsatile arterial load are increased inappropriately, failing to decrease as would occur in normal pregnancy, involving both conduit and small vessels. Abnormal adaptive mechanisms may be secondary to changes in vascular tone or vascular wall elements, and may have future implications for a woman later in life.