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Eclampsia (cont.)

Eclampsia Medications

  • Patients may require medication to treat high blood pressure during labor or after delivery. Hydralazine, labetolol and nifedipine are commonly used medications used to reduce blood pressure slowly to systolic levels below 160 mm Hg. It is unusual to require medication for high blood pressure after six weeks following delivery (unless the person has a problem with high blood pressure that is unrelated to pregnancy).
  • During labor (and for 24 to 48 hours after delivery) patients will be given a medication called magnesium sulfate. This is to decrease the chances of having a recurrent seizure. Secondary medications for seizures include benzodiazepines and phenytoin.
  • Medications such as oxytocin (Pitocin) or prostaglandins may be given to induce labor and/or ripen the cervix. A Foley catheter is sometimes placed in the cervix to mechanically "speed" the dilation process.
  • Some patients may be given steroids IV if the fetal gestational age is less than 32 weeks.

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