Preeclampsia v. Eclampsia: What Are the Differences?

Preeclampsia is a life-threatening condition that develops during a woman’s pregnancy. If the condition is left untreated or undiagnosed, preeclampsia may lead to eclampsia, condition causing seizures. Both preeclampsia and eclampsia are very serious health conditions for the mother.

Other than the safe delivery of the baby, there is no medical cure for preeclampsia or eclampsia. If you are exhibiting any of the symptoms associated with either condition, it is crucial to contact your doctor in order to protect your health and the health of your unborn child. If either one of these conditions go undetected or untreated during the course of your pregnancy, regardless of whether or not you received routine prenatal care, you may have legal options to recover compensation.

Preeclampsia and its symptoms

The prominent medical consequence of preeclampsia is a sustained period of increased blood pressure, with typical readings higher than 140/90 mm Hg. In addition, the patient may also have high urine protein levels (proteinuria). With this condition, the blood vessels tend to leak protein to various parts of the body, such as the bladder, leading to an increase in protein in the woman’s urine.

Pregnant women with preeclampsia may have various symptoms associated with the condition. Most experience a condition referred to as edema – the swelling of the hands, legs, and feet. This condition is often present during the second half of the woman’s pregnancy, usually in the second half of the second or third trimester.

Eclampsia and its symptoms

Eclampsia is a severe complication of preeclampsia characterized by one or more seizures during or after a woman’s pregnancy. Eclampsia is a serious and life-threatening condition that can lead to coma or even the death of the mother, the child, or both.

Causes of preeclampsia and eclampsia

Although the specific causes of preeclampsia and eclampsia are unknown at the present time, some potential causes include excess body fat, obesity, poor diet, malnutrition, insufficient flow of blood to the placenta and uterus, and genetics.

Treatment for preeclampsia vs. eclampsia

Although the delivery of your baby is the definitive cure for preeclampsia and eclampsia, any treatment you are given may depend on where you are in your pregnancy, the severity of the condition, and the health status of your unborn child in the womb.

For mothers experiencing mild preeclampsia, a doctor may prescribe one or more of the following:

  • Bed rest, either in the hospital or at home
  • Routine urine and blood tests
  • Routine prenatal visits, fetal monitoring, and ultrasounds
  • Antihypertensive medications
  • A diet with little to no salt
  • Corticosteroids to assist in the growth of the unborn child’s lungs

For mothers who develop eclampsia, a doctor may prescribe some or all of the following:

  • Hospitalization to promote stabilization of the condition
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Magnesium injections to reduce seizures related to eclampsia
  • In the most serious and life-threatening cases, delivery of the child immediately, even if the child is not close to full term.

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