What Is Eclampsia

Preeclampsia is a common pregnancy complication. If not addressed, it can be a huge risk to you and your baby. Preeclampsia has the potential to restrict fetus growth, induce premature labor, increase the risk of placental abruption, or develop into eclampsia. There is no one cause of preeclampsia, but studies suggest that your family history increases the chance of preeclampsia.  

Before you worry, you should know that preeclampsia is a complication that can easily be treated if detected early. These are the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia that could help you detect it:  

  • high blood pressure 
  • swelling of the hands and face 
  • persistent headaches 
  • dizziness 
  • changes in vision 
  • difficulty in breathing  
  • sudden nausea or vomiting after pregnancy midpoint 
  • pain in the upper right belly

If you suspect that you may have preeclampsia, you should see your doctor right away. Consulting with your doctor will help you know which steps to take to make your pregnancy safe. Some women don’t have any symptoms so an easy thing you could do to assure a healthy pregnancy is to monitor your blood pressure.    

Many of the stories about pregnancy complications start with blood pressure that was not properly monitored, ignored, or was misunderstood. This is why it is important for you and your doctor to monitor your blood pressure from the start of your pregnancy, until post-partum. As one of the indicators of preeclampsia, tracking your blood pressure can help you prevent any complications.  

As previously mentioned, it is also important to monitor your blood pressure even after the baby is delivered. Often, people assume that the possibility of eclampsia subsides post-partum, but it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes, the post-partum period is the worst time for blood pressure elevations.  

Post-partum women need monitoring for as long as it takes because there is still a possibility of preeclampsia or eclampsia. New mothers may need to take anti-hypertensives for weeks, months, or even for the rest of her life. This doesn’t fix preeclampsia or prevent eclampsia, but it does help with hypertensive strokes.  

To summarize, preeclampsia is a complication that doctors can easily treat or avoid with proper care. With early detection, you and your doctor can make the best choices for your pregnancy and for your baby. But most importantly, you could easily take steps to prevent complications by doing something as simple as taking care of yourself or monitoring your blood pressure.  

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Dr. Alan Lindemann

Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB/GYN)​

He is an obstetrician and maternal mortality expert with 4 decades of medical practice beginning in Minnesota and presently in North Dakota. He has delivered around 6,000 babies with zero maternal deaths.