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What are preeclampsia and eclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a condition that some women develop during pregnancy where the blood pressure shoots up. This condition is typical in women who have not had blood pressure–related issues before. A more severe case called eclampsia, which affects 1 in 200 women with preeclampsia, may be experienced where women start to have seizures as a result of the elevated blood pressure.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Symptoms differ by condition and from one person to another. However, they may broadly include:

  • Preeclampsia: Retention of fluid in the body causing weight gain, headaches, altered vision, nausea, abdominal pain and lowered urine output
  • Eclampsia: Swelling on the face and hands, blurred vision, disorientation, moments of failed vision, and loss of consciousness

What are the main causes?

It is hard to predict the exact cause of preeclampsia, although doctors do suggest that inadequate or poor diet, lack of blood flow or lowered blood flow to the uterus, or some genetic causes may contribute to the condition. In the case of preeclampsia, doctors are most likely to believe that abnormalities in the placenta or even elevated protein levels can lead to it, apart from the obvious high blood pressure.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

In diagnosing preeclampsia and eclampsia, doctors first check blood pressure levels and monitor them over a period of time. They may take some blood samples to check for blood count, platelets for clotting time, kidney and liver function as well. In addition, urine protein levels may be examined and creatinine checks may be conducted.

The ideal treatment for eclampsia and preeclampsia is to have the baby delivered, although this depends on the development of the baby and the condition of the mother as well. In cases where the condition is mild, doctors may suggest bed rest, a medication for blood pressure and regular blood tests. In certain complicated cases, doctors may even recommend that the pregnant woman is admitted to the hospital. If the individual has eclampsia, doctors may also prescribe anticonvulsants to prevent seizures. It is expected that all signs of preeclampsia or eclampsia go away within 6 weeks of delivery.

  1. Medicines for Preeclampsia and Eclampsia
  2. Doctors for Preeclampsia and Eclampsia
Dr. Poonam

Dr. Poonam

प्रसूति एवं स्त्री रोग

Dr. Shahnaz Zafar

Dr. Shahnaz Zafar

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Dr. Falak Chowdhary

Dr. Falak Chowdhary

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Do you or anyone in your family have this disease? Please do a survey and help others


  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [Internet] Washington, DC; Preeclampsia and Hypertension in Pregnancy: Resource Overview
  2. Liu S et al. Incidence, risk factors, and associated complications of eclampsia. Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Nov;118(5):987-94. PMID: 22015865
  3. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human; National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Preeclampsia and Eclampsia
  4. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Eclampsia
  5. Kathryn R. Fingar et al. Delivery Hospitalizations Involving Preeclampsia and Eclampsia, 2005–2014 . Healthcare cost and utilization project; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  6. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Helping Doctors Communicate with Patients About Preeclampsia. [Internet]

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