Alternate Names : Toxemia with seizures
Eclampsia is seizures (convulsions) in a pregnant woman that are not related to brain conditions.
See also: Preeclampsia
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
The cause of eclampsia is not well understood. Researchers believe the following may play a role:
- Blood vessels
- Brain and nervous system (neurological) factors
However, no theories have yet been proven.
Eclampsia follows preeclampsia, a serious complication of pregnancy that includes high blood pressure and excess and rapid weight gain.
It is difficult to predict which women with preeclampsia will go on to have seizures. Women at high risk for seizures have severe preeclampsia and:
- Abnormal blood tests
- Very high blood pressure
- Vision changes
Eclampsia occurs in about 1 out of every 2,000 to 3,000 pregnancies. The following increase a woman’s chance for getting preeclampsia:
- Being 35 or older
- Being African American
- First pregnancy
- History of diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney (renal) disease
- Multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc.)
- Teenage pregnancy
Pictures & Images
Preeclampsia is the development of swelling, elevated blood pressure, sudden and rapid weight gain and protein in the urine during pregnancy. The exact cause is unknown, but it occurs in approximately 5% of the population.
Review Date : 9/2/2009
Reviewed By : Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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