Eclampsia is pregnancy-related seizure activity that is
caused by severe
preeclampsia. Less than 1% of women who have
preeclampsia experience seizures.1 Eclampsia is
life-threatening for both a mother and her fetus. During a seizure, the oxygen
supply to the fetus is drastically reduced.
Sudden seizures can
occur before, during, or (rarely) up to 6 weeks after delivery (postpartum).
Postpartum seizures are most common during the first 48 hours after
If you have eclampsia, your doctor will give you medicine (such as magnesium sulfate) to prevent a seizure from happening again and to control your blood pressure. The doctor will wait until your health is stable before delivering your baby.
A woman with eclampsia
has a type of seizure called a grand mal seizure, which begins with a sudden
loss of consciousness.
Habli M, Sibai BM (2008). Hypertensive disorders of
pregnancy. In RS Gibbs et al., eds., Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10th ed., pp. 257–275. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and
November 5, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
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