Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2005 Aug 1;121(2):143-8.

The relationship between headache and preeclampsia: a case-control study.

Author information

  • 1Unit of Psychobiology of Reproduction, UCADH, Mother-Infant Department, Universit√† di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Via del Pozzo 71, 41100 Modena, Italy.



Pregnancy-induced hypertension with proteinuria (preeclampsia-PE) is linked to increased vascular reactivity, increased vasoconstrictors, endothelial damage and platelet hyperaggregation, which are also typical features of migraine patients. Thus, we investigated the association between headache and PE.


In a case-control study, we evaluated the occurrence of primary headache forms in 75 women with a recent history of PE. Seventy-five controls were selected from women having uneventful pregnancy at term. Both groups were matched for age and parity. Subjects' headache history was evaluated by using an ad hoc structured questionnaire. The International Headache Society criteria for primary headaches were applied to diagnose the specific form of headache.


In PE cases, gestational age at parturition was 34.2+/-3.8 weeks and birthweight was 1820+/-746 g, whereas in controls they were 39.3+/-1.5 weeks and 3365+/-437 g, respectively (P < 0.01). Sixty-six (44%) subjects suffered from headache. Headache was significantly more frequent in PE (47/75) than in controls (19/75), OR 4.95 (95% CI, 2.47-9.92). Migraine without aura was more frequently present in cases than in controls while episodic tension-type headache was equally distributed among groups. Fifty-two patients met the criteria of severe PE. The number of patients suffering from headache was significantly higher in severe patients (39 cases, 75%) than in those with moderate PE (8 cases, 34.8%), OR = 5.63 (95% CI, 1.97-16.03). With respect to controls, PE patients reported a more frequent onset at menarche, more menstrually related attacks and an increased rate of improvement during pregnancy.


This study shows that there is a strong association between migraine history and PE development, namely with the severe form of PE.

Comment in

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center