If you are hospitalized for eclampsia, your doctor will prescribe intravenous magnesium sulfate which has been shown to decrease seizures in women with eclampsia. Randomized, controlled trials in women with eclampsia show that women treated with phenytoin (Dilantin) are three times more likely and those treated with diazepam (Valium) are two times more likely to have recurrent seizures than women treated with magnesium sulfate. (Phenytoin is an anti-convulsant drug, while diazepam is an anti-anxiety agent. Both are used to control seizures.)

Magnesium sulfate may be prescribed as a preventive treatment for women with severe preeclampsia and eclampsia. Magnesium sulfate therapy is usually continued for at least 24 hours after delivery because eclamptic seizures may occur after delivery.

Severe preeclampsia and eclampsia increase your risk of severely high blood pressure, impaired blood clotting, organ failure, and other serious problems that can complicate your delivery and endanger the lives of you and your baby. Before you deliver, your doctor performs a number of tests to further assess your condition.