Objective: To evaluate the physical and mental health of women with a history of severe preeclampsia.
Methods: In a historical cohort study 131 former patients with a history of severe preeclampsia and 127 control patients received questionnaires about experienced physical and mental complaints after delivery. At a follow-up visit blood pressure, body mass index, and proteinuria were measured and venous blood was drawn.
Results: Former patients experienced significantly (p < 0.001) more frequent problems of headache (31% vs. 2%), right upper quadrant pain (16% vs. 1%), visual disturbances (21% vs. 1%), tiredness (66% vs. 27%), subjective loss of concentration (37% vs. 16%), and mental health (37% vs. 6%) compared with controls. When present, these health problems, except for tiredness, lasted significantly more often beyond six months postpartum compared to controls. Admittance to the intensive care unit was associated with headache, and subjective loss of memory and concentration over a longer period of time. The risk of recurrence of severe preeclampsia was a subject of concern in 20% of former patients. At follow-up, systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly higher (p < 0.001) among former patients.
Conclusion: Patients with a history of severe preeclampsia more frequently reported physical and mental complaints, also during a longer period of time.