What is the Difference Between Pre-eclampsia and Eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia and eclampsia are basically two forms of the same disorder. Pre-eclampsia is a complication of pregnancy involving a sudden increase in blood pressure, protein in the urine and swelling of the extremities.

Women with pre-eclampsia are carefully monitored, are often put on bed rest and are at increased risk of preterm labor, interventions during birth and c section delivery. There are varying degrees of severity in pre-eclampsia.

Eclampsia is the most serious form of this disorder. If pre-eclampsia is not properly diagnosed and treated, the condition can quickly progress to eclampsia. For this reason, your doctor will monitor your health very closely if you are diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.

Women with eclampsia often have seizures which can occur before, during or after the birth of the baby. The most dangerous risk of eclampsia is coma or death of both the mother and the baby.

Treatment varies widely depending on the severity of the disorder and the gestational age of the pregnancy. Whenever possible, the pregnancy will be allowed to continue until the baby can be born healthy. However, in severe cases of pre-eclampsia and definitely in the case of eclampsia, the baby will have to be delivered, regardless of the gestational age.

Women with mild pre-eclampsia are often allowed to remain at home with restrictions on activity. These women may have more frequent doctor’s visits and additional testing as the pregnancy progresses.

In more severe cases of pre-eclampsia, hospitalization may be required. Medications to prevent seizures and steroids to help baby’s lungs mature may be given. Blood pressure medication may also be required.

If the condition develops into eclampsia, the baby must be delivered as soon as possible. However, before this can happen, the mother’s condition must be stabilized. Medications will be given for seizures and to bring down the blood pressure to a safe level for the baby to be born. A c section will almost certainly be required.

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About Pattie Hughes

Pattie Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four young children. She and her husband have been married since 1992. Pattie holds a degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. Just before her third child was born, the family relocated to Pennsylvania to be near family. She stopped teaching and began writing. This gives her the opportunity to work from home and be with her children. She enjoys spending time with her family, doing crafts, playing outside at the park or just hanging out together.