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Eclampsia is pregnancy-related seizure activity that is caused by severe preeclampsia. Less than 1% of women who have preeclampsia experience seizures.footnote 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 delivery.
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.
CitationsHabli 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 Wilkins.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah A. Marshall, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerWilliam M. Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
Current as ofNovember 21, 2017
Current as of: November 21, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & William M. Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
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