A number of physiologic, hormonal, immunologic, and hemodynamic changes take place in the maternal body during pregnancy. The majority of these changes are essential for maintaining the normal course of pregnancy. However, these changes may also cause acute or chronic conditions that affect various biologic systems in the mother. In addition, conditions of the central and peripheral nervous systems can cause a variety of neurologic symptoms and complications. Neurologic signs and symptoms in pregnant and postpartum women may be due to the exacerbation of a preexisting medical condition, the initial manifestation of a primary central nervous system–related problem, or a neurologic problem unique to pregnancy and the postpartum period. Because the symptoms of these conditions are either nonspecific or overlapping, it can be challenging to pinpoint the diagnosis clinically. These conditions can be classified into more commonly seen conditions such as headache, venous thrombosis, preeclampsia, subarachnoid hemorrhage, posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, and certain pituitary disorders; and less commonly seen entities such as aneurysm, arteriovenous malformation, primary or secondary neoplasm, Sheehan syndrome, and Wernicke encephalopathy. Imaging has an important role in the differentiation and exclusion of various neurologic conditions, and most of the time, imaging findings can point the clinician to a specific diagnosis. The imaging appearances of common and uncommon neurologic conditions that can occur during pregnancy and the early postpartum period are highlighted in this article.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging