Eclampsia is an adverse condition in Pregnancy that can lead to potentially serious complications for both the mother and the unborn child. This condition often occurs when seizures develop in a women with a similar condition called – Pre-Eclampsia. This is a progression of a less serious condition.

Pre-eclampsia is a condition of elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine and eclampsia is a more serious condition.

Seizure activity is found in an individual without a previous seizure history or known seizure activity. Although rare, some cases of seizures and other problems can begin in someone without a having pre-eclampsia.

Eclampsia is seen on average in 0.50 per 1,000 births in the United States. It is one of the leading causes for both maternal and perinatal deaths. Seizures typically begin in the third trimester and rarely begin prior to that. However, can also begin during labor and within the first few days following child birth. Extremely rare, is when seizures are seen up to 6 weeks following delivery.



–  Pregnancy-induced Hypertension
–  Elevated protein in Urine
–  Nausea
–  Vomiting
–  Headaches
–  Vision changes
–  Followed by seizure activity
–  Abdominal pain
–  Fatigue
–  Edema

Seizure Activity Stages

1.)   Invasion  –  Facial twitching  –   especially around the mouth

2.)  Contraction  –   Rigidity of the body

3.)  Convulsion  –   Large muscle and body movements  –   tongue can be bitten, foam around the mouth, head hitting the ground, arms and legs moving

4.)   Com  –   also referred to as loss of consciousness  –    individual will awaken with a loss of memory of the event. May be unsure where they are and what happened

*** – not all seizures pass through all 4 stages

Risk Factors

–  Pre-eclampsia
–  Diabetes
–  Hypertension
–  Twins or more
–  Genetic


–  Overall the cause is rather unclear
–  Placental involvement
–  Cerebral vascular involvement – Theory
–  VasoActive agents – Theory


1.)  Medications

–  Magnesium sulfate – controls seizures
–  Antihypertensive management
  –  Hydralazine
  –  Labetalol

2.)  Child delivery