Eclampsia: Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment Options


Eclampsia and preeclampsia are the main causes for five percent of all hypertension cases all around the world. During pregnancy, many women might get this rare yet serious condition. Eclampsia is known to have affected approximately 1 out of 200 women with preeclampsia. More importantly, a pregnant woman can develop eclampsia even when she does not have a history of hypertension or seizures before.

What causes eclampsia?

Commonly known as a complication of preeclampsia, eclampsia can happen following high blood pressure in week 20th of pregnancy. Women with worsen preeclampsia that has affected her brain might easily get seizures or comas. This will lead to eclampsia. Here are two possible reasons for preeclampsia to develop into eclampsia:

Women with high blood pressure

If you are already diagnosed with preclampsia, your blood pressure might increase and cause damage to your arteries and blood vessels. The blood vessel damage will block the blood flow and at the same time cause swollen blood vessels in the brain. If your brain function is interfered by this swelling effect, you will get seizures.

Proteinuria effect
When you have preeclampsia, your kidney function will be affected, too. The excessive protein waste into the blood is the main cause for this condition. Normally, your kidneys will filter waste from the blood and retain key nutrients such as protein to redistribute to the body. If your kidneys’ filters are injured, the protein could excrete into your urine, leaking through the filters.

What are risk factors of eclampsia during pregnancy?

Obviously, having preeclampsia is the main cause of eclampsia. Besides, there are several risk factors. You are at a higher risk of eclampsia if you:

– Have hypertension (high blood pressure)
– Have moderate to severe headaches
– Are over age 35
– Are under age 20
– Are pregnant with twins or multiple children
– Get pregnant for the first time
– Have a history of poor diet or malnutrition
– Have diabetes or other conditions affecting your blood vessels

What the treatment options?

If you are diagnosed with eclampsia and preclampsia, delivering your baby is the only way to get rid of them. If you have preeclampsia, your doctor will need to monitor your health condition and use medications to prevent it from developing into eclampsia. You may need to take anticonvulsants and several medications to lower your blood pressure.

In case you have already developed eclampsia, you will need to deliver your child early. If you exhibit life-threatening symptoms or your medications could not control your condition, the early delivery might be done between week 32 and 36 of the pregnancy.

Eclampsia is a life-threatening complication during pregnancy. If you have serious headaches, convulsions, and drowsiness during pregnancy, these could be signs of eclampsia. Women with eclampsia have episodes of unusual brain activity such as violent shaking, decreased consciousness or staring. You should follow your doctor’s instruction carefully to control and protect your child. Try to practice mild to moderate exercise to help prevent this complication.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnose or treatment.

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