The other is known as Eclampsia is a term that describes a type of convulsion or fit (involuntary contraction of that pregnant women can experience), usually from week 20 of the pregnancy or immediately after the birth. In the UK, there is an estimated 1 case for every 4,000 pregnancies.
During an eclamptic fit, the mother's arms, legs, neck or jaw will twitch involuntarily in repetitive, jerky movements. She may lose consciousness. The fits usually last less than a minute. While most make a full recovery after having Eclampsia, there is a small risk of permanent disability or brain damage if the fits are severe. Of those who have Eclampsia, around 1 in 50 will die from the condition. The unborn babies can suffocate during a seizure and 1 in 14 may die.
Research has found that a medication called magnesium sulfate can halve the risk of Eclampsia and reduce the risk of the mother dying. It is now widely used to treat Eclampsia after it has occurred, and to treat women who may be at risk of developing it.