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Preeclampsia vs. Eclampsia – What You Need to Know

Preeclampsia and eclampsia can be life-threatening conditions affecting pregnant women and new mothers. Preeclampsia generally involves swelling, the development of high blood pressure, or high protein levels in the urine any time after the 20th week of pregnancy. Eclampsia is a severe complication of preeclampsia, leading to seizures during or after pregnancy.

Both of these conditions can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.

Symptoms of preeclampsia and eclampsia

According to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the signs of preeclampsia in a pregnant woman include:

  • Blood pressure of 140/90
  • Systolic blood pressure that rises by 30 mm Hg or more, even it if is less than 140. (This is the highest level of blood pressure during the heart’s pumping cycle.)
  • Diastolic blood pressure that rises by 15 mm Hg or more, even if it is less than 90. (This is the lowest level of blood pressure during the heart’s pumping cycle.)
  • Swelling in the face or hands
  • High levels of albumin [a form of protein] in the urine

Women with less serious forms of preeclampsia may manifest symptoms of borderline high blood pressure, albumin in the urine, or water retention and/or swelling that fail to respond to treatment.

If the pregnant woman’s blood pressure reaches 150/110 and she has other symptoms such as high levels of albumin in the urine and marked swelling or water retention, she may also experience abdominal pain, problems with eyesight, and hypersensitive reflexes. states that the signs of eclampsia include:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Swelling in the face or hands
  • Headaches
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vision problems, including episodes with loss of vision or blurry vision
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Abdominal pain, especially in the right upper abdomen
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Agitation

Risks to the mother and child

If these conditions are left undiagnosed and untreated, they cause a reduction of blood flow to the placenta, which results in the baby suffering growth restrictions.. Other potential injuries to the child include:

  • Hearing and vision issues
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Epilepsy
  • Death

Both pre-eclampsia and eclampsia can lead to placental abruption, a potentially life-threatening complication for the mother and the child. They can also lead to strokes and comas, if not treated in time.

At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, we are here to help you in cases of medical malpractice involving undiagnosed or mistreated preeclampsia or eclampsia. If you have suffered health complications through the negligence of medical personnel in your case, we can help. To set up a free consultation with one of our Georgia medical malpractice attorneys, give us a call today at 912-651-9967 in Savannah, or 404-961-7650 in Atlanta. Or, send us a request through our contact form.



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