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
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 Marshall, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerWilliam Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
Current as ofMarch 16, 2017
Current as of:
March 16, 2017
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
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Last modified on: 8 September 2017