Objectives: Previously preeclamptic women may express cognitive difficulties, which have largely been unappreciated or attributed to stresses of a complicated pregnancy. This study aimed to explore the scope of perceived neurocognitive and psychosocial problems as well as quality of life following preeclampsia.
Study design: Observational study. Through website promotion and e-mail, registrants of the USA-based Preeclampsia Foundation who experienced preeclampsia in the past 20years were invited to complete a web-based survey. Participants were requested to ask an acquaintance that had a normotensive pregnancy to also complete the survey (controls).
Main outcome measures: The Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ), abbreviated WHO Quality Of Life questionnaire (WHOQOL-BREF), Social Functioning Questionnaire (SFQ) and Breslau Short Screening Scale for DSM-IV Posttraumatic Stress Disorder were used in the survey. Analysis was performed using Mann-Whitney U tests and linear regression.
Results: 966 cases and 342 controls completed the survey (median age 34, median time since first pregnancy 4 vs. 5years). Cases scored significantly worse on CFQ (median 35 vs. 27), WHOQOL-BREF domains physical health (15 vs. 17), psychological (13 vs. 15), social relationships (13 vs. 15) and environment (15 vs. 16), and SFQ (8 vs. 7). All p<0.001. Multivariable analysis showed an independent significant effect of eclampsia on CFQ and of migraine on all questionnaires and the effect of preeclampsia was still present after adjustment for confounders. Posttraumatic stress symptoms accounted for part of the relationships.
Conclusions: Previously preeclamptic women appear to perceive more cognitive and social problems, and report poorer quality of life compared to a group of women with normotensive pregnancies. Research relating to the origin and management of these issues is needed.
Keywords: Cognitive functioning; Eclampsia; Long-term consequences; Preeclampsia.
Copyright © 2013 International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.