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Eclampsia: A Pregnancy Nightmare

Eclampsia: A Pregnancy Nightmare

Eclampsia is a serious, albeit rare, condition that causes seizures (convulsions) or coma in pregnant women. These seizures are of no relation to the existing brain condition, thus pregnant women who may not even have a history of seizures may develop this condition. Seizures are episodes of disturbed brain activity characterized by staring, lack of alertness and convulsions (violent shaking). Eclampsia develops from a condition called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a condition present exclusively in pregnant. In this condition, pregnant women develop high blood pressure and protein in the urine after the 20th week of pregnancy, usually late in the second trimester or during the third trimester. Eclampsia occurs in one out of every 2,000 to 3,000 pregnancies. Some complications that may occur from eclampsia include separation of placenta (placenta abruption), premature delivery, and blood clotting problem. Causes of Eclampsia Eclampsia frequently follows preeclampsia, although the exact cause of preeclampsia is still not yet determined. Possible causes may include the following: Problems or damage to the blood vessels Insufficient flow of blood to the uterus Diet Genes Autoimmune disorders Risk Factors of Eclampsia                 It is not easy to tell which pregnant women with preeclampsia will progress to eclampsia, however, it was determined that the following risk factors increases a pregnant women’s chances of developing severe preeclampsia and seizures include: Hypertension (high blood pressure) Having headaches Age – being under age 20 but over age 35 Race – African Americans are at greater risk First pregnancy Multiple pregnancy (twins or more) History of malnutrition or poor diet Diabetes Having conditions that affect the blood vessels Signs and Symptoms for Eclampsia...