Pre-eclampsia is the most common pregnancy complication affecting 1 in 20 pregnancies, characterized by high blood pressure and signs of organ damage, most often to the liver and kidneys. Metabolic network analysis of published lipidomic data points to a shortage of Coenzyme A (CoA). Gene expression profile data reveal alterations to many areas of metabolism and, crucially, to conflicting cellular regulatory mechanisms arising from the overproduction of signalling lipids driven by CoA limitation. Adverse feedback loops appear, forming sphingosine-1-phosphate (a cause of hypertension, hypoxia and inflammation), cytotoxic isoketovaleric acid (inducing acidosis and organ damage) and a thrombogenic lysophosphatidyl serine. These also induce mitochondrial and oxidative stress, leading to untimely apoptosis, which is possibly the cause of CoA restriction. This work provides a molecular basis for the signs of pre-eclampsia, why polycystic ovary syndrome is a risk factor and what might be done to treat and reduce the risk of disease.