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Pre-eclampsia and Eclampsia: Causes and Treatments

Signs and Symptoms of Pre-Eclampsia and Eclampsia

WebMD Feature

Pre-eclampsia and eclampsia are forms of high blood pressure that occur during pregnancy and are accompanied by protein in the urine and edema (swelling). As the names suggest, these two disorders are related. Pre-eclampsia, sometimes called toxemia of pregnancy, may develop into the more severe eclampsia, which is pre-eclampsia together with seizure. These conditions usually develop during the second half of pregnancy (after 20 weeks), though sometimes they develop shortly after birth, and, in very rare situations, they occur before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

You are at increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia if:

  • This is your first pregnancy.
  • Your mother or sister had pre-eclampsia or eclampsia during pregnancy.
  • You are carrying more than one baby.
  • You are a teenager.
  • You are over 40 years old.
  • You already have high blood pressure, kidney disease or diabetes.
  • You are a smoker.
  • You are obese.
  • You suffer from malnutrition.
  • You carry a baby with so-called "non-immune hydrops."