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What is the prognosis for a woman with eclampsia?
Most women will have good outcomes for their pregnancies, even when complicated by preeclampsia or eclampsia. Some women will continue to have problems with their blood pressure and will need to be followed closely after delivery. About 25% of women who have had eclampsia will have elevated blood pressure in a subsequent pregnancy, and about 2% will develop eclampsia.
Most babies do well. Babies born prematurely will usually stay in the hospital longer. A rule of thumb is to expect the baby to stay in the hospital until their due date.
Unfortunately, a few women and babies experience life-threatening complications from preeclampsia or eclampsia. Complications in babies are generally related to prematurity, and outcomes for both mothers and babies are significantly worse in developing countries. The maternal mortality (death) rate from eclampsia in developed counties ranges from 0% to 1.8% of cases. Most of the cases of maternal death are complicated by a condition known as HELLP syndrome, which is characterized by hypertension, hemolytic anemia, elevated liver function tests (LFTs), and a low platelet count.
Just as there were no tests to predict or prevent eclampsia, there are no tests to predict whether preeclampsia or eclampsia will recur in a subsequent pregnancy. Unfortunately, in a small number of women, preeclampsia and/or eclampsia will recur. This chance seems to increase if the preeclampsia or eclampsia was particularly severe in the previous pregnancy, occurred very early in that pregnancy (late second trimester or early third trimester), or there is a new father for the subsequent pregnancy. Because there are no tests to predict recurrent preeclampsia/eclampsia, a previously affected patient should be followed more closely during a subsequent pregnancy.
Medically reviewed by Wayne Blocker, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/11/2016
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