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Understanding Preeclampsia and Eclampsia -- Diagnosis & Treatment

How Is Preeclampsia or Eclampsia Diagnosed?

If you notice rapid weight gain, swelling in your face or hands, headaches that are not helped by Tylenol and rest, or blurred vision, make an appointment to see your health care provider, because you could have preeclampsia. Your provider will check your blood pressure and take a urine sample to look for protein in your urine. 

A blood pressure reading that is consistently greater than 140/90 is above the normal range. If you're diagnosed with preeclampsia, your health care provider may also do tests to check your liver, kidney function, and level of platelets (the blood cells involved in clotting) in your blood.

What Are the Treatments for Preeclampsia or Eclampsia?

Treatment for preeclampsia and eclampsia depends on the severity of the disease, the stage of your pregnancy, and the health of you and your baby.

If you are near the end of your pregnancy and have preeclampsia, you may have labor induced. If you are not near the end of your pregnancy and have preeclampsia, you will be monitored closely. You should seek medical care immediately if you experience any symptoms of preeclampsia.

Careful follow-up of the mother and her baby is a major part of treatment for preeclampsia. If at any time your condition worsens or the baby is not doing well, your health care provider will recommend delivering the baby.

If you develop severe disease, you will be put in the hospital, a medicine (magnesium sulfate) will be given to reduce the chance that you will have a seizure, and antihypertensive drugs will be administered to lower your blood pressure. Development of severe preeclampsia usually results in delivery of the baby. 

For the majority of women with preeclampsia or eclampsia, blood pressure returns to normal within a few days or weeks after delivery.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on April 10, 2014

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