Lancet. 2021 Jul 24;398(10297):341-354. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32335-7. Epub 2021 May 27.


Pre-eclampsia is a multisystem pregnancy disorder characterised by variable degrees of placental malperfusion, with release of soluble factors into the circulation. These factors cause maternal vascular endothelial injury, which leads to hypertension and multi-organ injury. The placental disease can cause fetal growth restriction and stillbirth. Pre-eclampsia is a major cause of maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity, especially in low-income and middle-income countries. Prophylactic low-dose aspirin can reduce the risk of preterm pre-eclampsia, but once pre-eclampsia has been diagnosed there are no curative treatments except for delivery, and no drugs have been shown to influence disease progression. Timing of delivery is planned to optimise fetal and maternal outcomes. Clinical trials have reported diagnostic and prognostic strategies that could improve fetal and maternal outcomes and have evaluated the optimal timing of birth in women with late preterm pre-eclampsia. Ongoing studies are evaluating the efficacy, dose, and timing of aspirin and calcium to prevent pre-eclampsia and are evaluating other drugs to control hypertension or ameliorate disease progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aspirin / administration & dosage
  • Calcium / administration & dosage
  • Calcium-Regulating Hormones and Agents / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnosis*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / drug therapy*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors


  • Calcium-Regulating Hormones and Agents
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Aspirin
  • Calcium