Eclampsia is a rare condition which occurs during pregnancy causing seizures in the pregnant woman. Eclampsia is a complication of pre eclampsia. Pre- eclampsia is a condition of pregnancy in which there is high blood pressure, and presence of protein in urine. Seizures are the abnormal brain activity which involves vigorous shaking commonly known as convulsions or fits.
A woman may or may not have a history of hypertension (increased blood pressure) before she conceives. The pregnancy might itself cause the blood pressure to increase and result in pre- eclampsia.
It is a serious complication and it can even lead to death of the patient. Disorders related hypertension is the most common cause of deaths during the pregnancy. Almost 1% of the women who get eclampsia succumb to death.
Women having following risk factors have increased chances of developing pre- eclampsia and eclampsia.
- First pregnancy
- Very Young or very old age of conception
- History of hypertension
- History of diabetes
- Large placenta
- History of eclampsia in family
- Twin pregnancy
- Kidney disease
- History of poor nutrition and diet
In Pre- eclampsia:
- The pregnant woman has hypertension and presence of proteins in the urine.
- Swelling in the face and the feet
- Excessive weight gain in pregnancy
- In eclampsia, the patient experience convulsions
- It is preceded by nausea, vomiting, head ache, dizziness, and black out.
- The foetus may develop intra uterine distress and decreased heart rate.
- It can even lead to comatose state
The diagnosis of pre- eclampsia is based on three factors:
- Hypertension in the pregnancy
- Presence of proteins in the urine
- Presence of swelling in the feet and face
Other tests such as creatinine test, urine test, blood tests are conducted to assess the patient’s condition.
Detection of hypertension and pre- eclampsia is essential to avoid conditions like eclampsia. Regular follow ups and check-ups with the gynaecologist are necessary to identify these conditions in time and manage them efficiently.
The patient should be taken to the hospital as soon as possible after the danger signs such as black out and dizziness are complained.
The treatment is based on 4 factors:
- Delivery of the baby: delivering the baby as soon as possible will control the symptoms.
- Convulsions: convulsions should be controlled to minimise the damage to the brain of the patient.
- Blood pressure control: blood pressure is controlled with the help of blood pressure lowering medications.
- Monitoring: the patients may have convulsions even after delivery hence continuous monitoring is necessary.
- Home care: even after discharge the prescribed medications should be taken on time. Regular measuring of blood pressure should be done and enough rest should be taken.
Long term effects:
Once the baby is delivered the symptoms of the eclampsia get drastically improved. It is very essential to talk to your gynaecologist about this complication if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above.