Disease Information for Preeclampsia/Toxemia of pregnancy: Definition

  • Preeclampsia /Eclampsia [Toxemia with seizures ]; Eclampsia is the occurence of seizures (convulsions) in a pregnant woman; The seizures are unrelated to brain conditions and usually happen after the 20th week of pregnancy; The cause of eclampsia is not well understood; serious complication of pregnancy marked by high blood pressure, weight gain, and protein in the urine; It is difficult to predict which women with preeclampsia will go on to have seizures; Women with very high blood pressure, headaches, vision changes, or abnormal blood tests have severe preeclampsia and are at high risk for seizures; The rate of eclampsia is approximately 1 out of 2000 to 3000 pregnancies; The following increase a woman"s chance for preeclampsia: First pregnancies, Teenage pregnancies, Being 35 or older, Bimodal frequency distribution with very young and very old first pregnancies; African-American; Multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc.); History of diabetes, hypertension, or renal (kidney) disease.---

    Findings: Seizures, Severe agitation, Unconsciousness, Muscle aches and pains; Symptoms of preeclampsia include swelling of hands and face, gaining more than 2 pounds per week, headache, vision problems, and stomach pain [RUQ]; Proteinuria and fluid retention with or without hypertension evident; A woman with eclampsia should be continuously monitored; Delivery is the treatment of choice for eclampsia in a pregnancy over 28 weeks; For pregnancies less than 24 weeks, the start of labor is recommended, although the baby may not survive; Prolonging pregnancies in which the woman has eclampsia results in danger to the mother and infant death in approximately 87% of cases;

    Women may be given medicine to prevent seizures (anticonvulsant); Magnesium sulfate is a safe drug for both the mother and the baby; Medication may be used to lower the high blood pressure; The goal is to manage severe cases until 32-34 weeks and mild cases until 36 weeks of the pregnancy have passed; The condition is then relieved with the delivery of the baby; Delivery may be induced if blood pressure stays high despite medication.---