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Eclampsia is pregnancy-related seizure activity that is usually
caused by severe preeclampsia (a pregnancy complication).
Eclampsia is a
life-threatening condition for both a mother and her fetus. During a seizure,
the oxygen supply to the fetus is drastically reduced.
Less than 1% of women with preeclampsia experience seizures. Sudden
eclampsia can occur before, during, or (rarely) up to 6 weeks after delivery.
Seizures that do occur after delivery (postpartum seizures) are most common
during the first 48 hours after delivery.
Magnesium sulfate treatment is a highly effective prevention and
treatment for eclampsia. It is typically given to high-risk women during labor
and for 24 hours after delivery and to women having an eclamptic
Current as of:
May 22, 2015
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
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