Eclampsia is convulsions (seizures) in a pregnant
woman that are not related to a pre-existing brain condition.
It is an acute and life threatening complication
of pregnancy that occurs during or immediately after conceiving as a complication of pre-eclampsia
blood pressure and presence of protein in the urine). Pre-eclampsia and
eclampsia are collectively known as hypertensive disorder of pregnancy or toxemia of pregnancy
The exact cause of eclampsia is not known.
However, if pre-eclampsia is not diagnosed and controlled, it can lead to
Typically, patients with eclampsia show signs of pregnancy-induced hypertension and
proteinuria prior to the onset of seizures, severe agitation and
The treatment of women
with pre-eclampsia is bed rest and
as soon as viable for the fetus. As the risk of eclampsia is
unpredictable and often not easily correlated to physical signs such as the
degree of blood pressure or proteinuria, an anticonvulsant
(seizure prevention medicine) is usually given to
women in labor with hypertension. Delivery is the treatment of choice for
eclampsia in a pregnancy.
Treatment of eclampsia requires prompt attention
and when left untreated, eclampsia can cause complications like placenta abruption (separation of the
placenta), premature delivery or stillbirth.