Human pregnancy can be affected by numerous pathologies, from those which are mild and reversible to others which are life-threatening. Among these, gestational diabetes mellitus and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy with subsequent consequences stand out. Health problems experienced by women during pregnancy and postpartum are associated with significant costs to health systems worldwide and contribute largely to maternal mortality and morbidity. Major risk factors for mothers include obesity, advanced maternal age, cardiovascular dysfunction, and endothelial damage; in these scenarios, oxidative stress plays a major role. Markers of oxidative stress can be measured in patients with preeclampsia, foetal growth restriction, and gestational diabetes mellitus, even before their clinical onset. In consequence, antioxidant supplements have been proposed as a possible therapy; however, results derived from large scale randomised clinical trials have been disappointing as no positive effects were demonstrated. This review focuses on the latest evidence on oxidative stress in pregnancy complications, their early diagnosis, and possible therapies to prevent or treat these pathologies.
Keywords: antioxidants; oxidative stress; preeclampsia; pregnancy.