Some context, in case you spent the better part of last night googling eclampsia

For no particular reason, here is a graph of maternal mortality rates in England and Wales between 1850 and 1970. The Daily Beast also has an informative article on eclampsia, specifically, though you should be aware that it contains many television spoilers. Particularly interesting to me: We still don't actually know what causes eclampsia — and the treatments still revolve around preventing the seizures. (Thanks to Ms. Rosenberg for the graph!)


  1. Sorry, but I only spend the night googling stuff after reading KXCD.

    Google isn’t available if the computer is displaying a fullscreen video.

  2. I’ve stayed away from DA spoilers, so last night took me by surprise. That said, they certainly kept telegraphing  “trouble ahead” all through last night’s episode. I kept hoping the signals weren’t leading to what eventually happened, but…bummer.

    1. I, too, got the telegraphing, but was expecting a last-minute save. Or it to not turn out to be that big of a deal after all, since all the “high stakes” plotlines so far have wrapped up weirdly quickly and smoothly. And then, it’s suddenly like I’d wandered into Game of Thrones. 

  3. The confusing thing to me about the info on eclampsia is that it sounds like the seizures stop once the placenta goes, but several hours had passed since the birth in this case. Other dergoogle insights told of people with post-birth seizures (who did not die) — but not sure if that’s because of medical advances or just patient idiosyncrasies.

  4. DUDE.  W.T.F.  My wife is in the hospital with preeclampsia and one of the nurses wouldn’t shut up about the show.  “OMG, it’s so good.  There’s a new episode on tonight.  You have to watch it.”  Seeing as how PBS is one of the few channels we get in the hospital, we gave it a go.  Needless to say the nurse felt terrible when she came in this morning…

    Thanks for this graph.  I was able to show my wife quantitatively the drop in risk over the past century or so.

  5. Well, having seen the series already (as it has aired already in the UK) I’m glad that I can finally talk about this with my US schedule bound friends.  Of course, this is not nearly a big a deal as the upcoming Doctor Who crossover episode.

    1. You jest, but are you familiar with the TV series Jeeves & Wooster (with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie), or the books by P.G. Wodehouse upon which it’s based?

      The eighth episode of the current season of Downton Abbey had me laughing at every turn, because so much of it seemed lifted directly from Wodehouse – right down to the jazz nightclub and Aunt Agatha. And amazingly, nothing in Downton Abbey previously reminded me of it, despite it being set in a similar period and being about a similar upper class (and the Downton Abbey estate itself, whatever its real name is, was a prominent location used on Jeeves & Wooster as well). 

      It felt like it had to be a purposeful homage, not mere coincidence. Doctor Who references no longer seem out of the question, honestly. Perhaps someone will visit Torchwood House in Scotland ;)

  6. My great grandmother nearly died of eclampsia when my grandfather’s older brother was born. Family lore tells that the doctor said he could only save one — the mother or the child — and asked my great-grandfather which it should be. My great grandfather grabbed him by the collar and said “Save them both.”

    Luckily, that worked, because otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Sadly, my yelling at the screen “save them both! Save them booooooth!!” did not have the same effect. Sorry guys.

  7. I suspect eclampsia has to do with nutrition, specifically mineral deficiencies.  

    So, Tums help with morning sickness, and have magnesium; even if it is a placebo, there are no serious side effects (beyond a soothed stomach), they taste good, they are inexpensive, and magnesium is good for you.

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