Can you develop eclampsia after giving birth?


Quick Answer

Eclampsia can occur after pregnancy, but it is extremely rare, states MedicineNet. Eclampsia is an escalation of the condition preeclampsia, which occurs after delivery in approximately 5 percent of cases. In 90 percent of cases, preeclampsia develops after the 34th week of pregnancy, and giving birth terminates the symptoms.

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Full Answer

Preeclampsia affects pregnant women after the 20th week of gestation, triggering protein secretion in urine, known as proteinuria, and abnormal spikes in blood pressure, known as hypertension, according to MedicineNet. Without proper care, preeclampsia leads to eclampsia, causing potentially fatal seizures. Researchers estimate that 1 out of 200 women with untreated preeclampsia develop eclampsia. The majority of postpartum preeclampsia and eclampsia cases develop within 48 hours of delivery, but the condition can start as late as six weeks after childbirth, explains Mayo Clinic.

Women with preeclampsia often have no symptoms or overlook them, notes Mayo Clinic. Headaches, nausea, vomiting, sudden weight gain and facial swelling are typical signs and symptoms. Some women also experience sensitivity to light, blurred vision, reduced urination and upper abdominal pain. The condition is most often detected through urinalysis, in which doctors test urine for protein, and blood tests, which reveals irregular changes in platelet counts. Doctors treat postpartum preeclampsia with medications to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of seizures.

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