Objective: To determine the changes in plasma levels of lipid peroxide, vitamin E and vitamin C in women with preeclampsia and to investigate their relationship with diastolic blood pressure. Study Design: Cross sectional study consisting of 22 preeclamptic and 21 healthy pregnant women. Fasting venous blood samples were collected during the antepartum period and plasma levels of malondialdehyde, alpha-tocopherol and ascorbic acid were measured. Results: In the preeclamptic group malondialdehyde, a lipid peroxidation product, was significantly increased, while vitamins E and C were significantly decreased compared to healthy pregnant women. A strong correlation was detected between malondialdehyde and antioxidant factors (vitamins E and C) with blood pressure. Conclusion: Our findings are consistent with previous studies suggesting that lipid peroxidation is an important factor in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. In preeclampsia, antioxidant nutrients are excessively utilised to counteract the cellular changes mediated by free radicals. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.