diagnosis, staging and screening

Last reviewed 01/2018

Pre-eclampsia is a syndrome and as such, has no specific test. Diagnosis rests upon the recognition of features consistently associated with the condition.

Maternal factors routinely screened for include:

  • blood pressure
  • urine - the presence of protein
  • weight - accelerated gain
  • evidence of fluid retention

In the fetus:

  • small for gestational age


  • baseline observations eg. booking BP - cannot be over stressed; these give a benchmark against which to interpret later results. Ideally these are at 12 to 16 weeks gestation
  • other factors may provide evidence of the syndrome - eg. hyperuricaemia, thrombocytopenia, haemoconcentration, abnormal aspartate aminotransferase activity