Eclampsia in Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a journey of transformations that brings both joy and challenges. However, it’s crucial to be well-informed about potential complications that require timely attention, as it can be life-threatening for both the mother and her baby(tips for healthy pregnancy). Read on to know more about what is eclampsia in pregnancy.
What is Eclampsia?
Eclampsia in Pregnancy is a rare but severe medical condition that can occur during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth. It is typically a progression of preeclampsia, another serious pregnancy complication. Preeclampsia involves elevated blood pressure and organ damage, particularly to the liver and kidneys. In contrast, eclampsia is identified by the occurrence of seizures in women who are pregnant or have recently given birth and are already dealing with preeclampsia. Sometimes, eclampsia can occur even without signs of preeclampsia.
Causes of Eclampsia in Pregnancy
It is not fully understood, but experts believe eclampsia is related to problems with the placenta, the structure connecting the baby to the mother’s uterine wall. Some factors that may increase the risk of developing eclampsia include:
- First pregnancies elevate the risk of developing preeclampsia, which may advance to eclampsia.
- Women under the age of 20 and over 40 face a heightened risk of eclampsia.
- Multiple Gestations carrying twins or triplets amplifies the risk.
- Pre-existing health conditions such as chronic hypertension, kidney disease, and diabetes heighten the risk.
- The likelihood of encountering complications such as preeclampsia or eclampsia during pregnancy is elevated if there is a family history of these conditions.
Symptoms of Eclampsia
Eclampsia often follows the symptoms of preeclampsia, but the defining feature is the occurrence of seizures. Common symptoms of eclampsia and preeclampsia may include:
- Seizures occur, involving either generalization or specific parts of the body.
- High Blood Pressure is a hallmark symptom of both conditions.
- Presence of excess protein in urine called Proteinuria.
- Swelling, especially in the hands, face, and legs, may occur.
- Frequent Severe and persistent Headaches.
- Experiencing Visual disturbances such as blurred vision, sensitivity to light, or temporary vision loss.
- Pain situated in the upper-right quadrant of the abdomen.
- Accompanied by other symptoms, nausea and vomiting may occur.
The Importance of Early Detection and Treatment
Eclampsia in pregnancy is a rare but severe complication that can have serious consequences if not addressed promptly. Immediate intervention is necessary as it is a medical emergency. The seizures can be life-threatening for both the mother and the baby.
Therefore, early detection and management of preeclampsia is crucial to prevent the progression to eclampsia. Regular prenatal check-ups are essential for monitoring blood pressure, urine protein levels, and other risk factors. If a pregnant mother with high BP or heavy protein loss in urine complaints of headache, it’s a red signal!
In the event of its occurrence, managing eclampsia usually entails the use of anticonvulsant medications to control seizures. The mother is usually hospitalized for close monitoring and further treatments. In severe cases, premature delivery of the baby may be necessary to protect the mother’s and baby’s health.
While eclampsia during pregnancy can be a challenging condition, timely intervention and appropriate medical attention substantially enhance the likelihood of a favourable outcome for both the mother and the child. It serves as a reminder of the importance of regular prenatal care and early detection of any concerning symptoms. Expectant mothers should be vigilant and communicate any health changes to their healthcare providers.