What is Eclampsia in Pregnancy?

Eclampsia by definition, is a pregnancy complication, in which there is at least a confirmed case of generalized seizure or convulsion and / or coma, where preeclampsia has been confirmed earlier in a pregnant woman.

...it is very important to ensure that, other causes of this seizure / convulsion like "Epilepsy" is ruled out.

 COMA.... is a state, when someone is unconscious and not responding to calls and pain...like pinching or insertion of a needle to give medication into this individual...  (for instance)

The word Pre-eclampsia was originally coined, because, it was thought that, pre eclampsia was a precursor of eclampsia.

 Now scientists believe, seizure is part of the progression and worsening of severe preeclampsia.

Eclampsia is a terrible medical condition to have and to witness.

I have personally seen an unfortunate, pregnant lady, have a "grand mal seizure".... a generalized seizure in which the whole body shakes....!!!

It was one of the most distressing things, I have ever seen in my life. Where a young pregnant lady is SHAKING so vigorously... You can see, through her abdominal wall.... the fetus inside her womb shaking too...!!! With appropriate medications administered, the SEIZURES stopped, but it left an indelible mark on my mind.

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy is an umbrella term, for different medical problems which affect pregnancy. The unique element common among them all is… high blood pressure.

To see how they are all related to each other, and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones who may be pregnant or plan to be pregnant in future… read the latest scientific breakthroughs here

Eclampsia Symptoms

Eclampsia symptoms varies from one person to the other. Also keep in mind, eclampsia can start anytime during preeclamptic phase, without any warnings ...but the most common signs and symptoms includes:

  • Persistent headaches during pregnancy, mostly at the front of the head, not responding to analgesics.
  • Blurry vision or visual problems
  • Double vision
  • Abdominal pains mostly near the stomach or liver areas in the abdominal region.
  • Confusion

Confirmation of Eclampsia is made, when there is one or more confirmed case of seizure or convulsion... and / or coma in a preeclamptic pregnant woman, when NO other causes of seizure, has been ruled out or eliminated.

Eclampsia in Pregnancy Statistics

Eclampsia in pregnancy statistics around the world is not available, because most data rely on the records from the advanced nations that keep this data... developing and third world nations do not have  a reliable information readily available.

Eclampsia in preeclamptic women in developed countries is from 1.6  to 10 cases per 10000 of delivered babies.

It occurs in about 1.5 -  3 percent of severely preeclamptic pregnant women.

Eclampsia can occur before the baby is born, during delivery and after the delivery of the baby ...termed Postpartum Eclampsia

The cause of Eclampsia in pregnancy is unknown, but a proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence suggests:

  • Problem of the cerebral blood flow and regulation, due to high blood pressure as part of the eclampsia pathophysiology.
  • The spasm of the blood vessels (arteries) in the brain, due to over regulation because of high blood pressure.

 What is Postpartum Eclampsia?

Postpartum eclampsia or eclampsia after delivery of the baby is a pregnancy complication, which occurs after childbirth.

Greater amount of postpartum eclampsia, around 39 percent, happen within 48 hours of delivery of a baby.....according to available records.

Sometimes eclampsia after delivery can happen 48 hours and up to six (6) weeks after delivery.

 So watch out for the Postpartum Eclampsia Symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Abdominal  pain around the epigastrium
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Eclampsia in Pregnancy Treatment

Hopefully you never witness an eclampsia in pregnancy.... i.e., a pregnant lady having a seizure...

If you do...call for help immediately, or call 911 in North America... or however you activate the Emergency Medical Services where you live...!!!

The maintenance of an open airway is of paramount importance... so ensure, nothing is blocking the nose or mouth of this pregnant lady... who may be having a seizure.

Ensure any discharge from the nose or mouth is removed with a swiping, with a soft cloth to avoid and / or prevent this lady from aspirating from her own secretions.

If possible roll the seizing pregnant lady, onto  her left side...

If Oxygen is available.... give it through the face mask

Provide padded area for the side of the bed or stretcher to avoid injury to the lady and / or the fetus

Other Medical Eclampsia Treatment, provided by the medical doctors include...

 Medications for high blood pressure

Medications for seizure... like Magnesium sulphate

This eclamptic lady will be assessed for feasible delivery of the baby.... if possible.

World Health Organization stated..."" Among the hypertensive disorders that complicates pregnancy, pre eclampsia and Eclampsia stand out as major causes of maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity. The majority of deaths due to preeclampsia and eclampsia are avoidable, through provision of timely and effective care...""

In summary, if you are fortunate to live where you can access effective and affordable Antenatal / Prenatal Care, please make use of it... few of these pregnancy complications, like HELLP Syndrome, preeclampsia and Eclampsia are detected during routine pregnancy care.... your unborn baby will benefit immensely from it and will.... thank you...!!!


       HELLP Syndrome

       Pregnancy Care Tips