Preeclampsia is a disorder that affects pregnant women. According to the National Institutes of Health, about three to five percent of pregnant women in the United States develop preeclampsia. Unfortunately, it is a serious condition that affects a woman’s blood pressure and it can progress rapidly.
This pregnancy-related condition can negatively affect the fetus as well as the mother-to-be. Typically, if a pregnant woman has preeclampsia, it would appear around the twentieth week of pregnancy and would be marked by certain symptoms, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Swelling in the feet, ankles, and hands
- Excessive protein in the urine
- Shortness of breath
- Bad headaches
- Blurry vision
- Nausea and vomiting
Although a woman might not experience all of these symptoms, in most pregnancies where preeclampsia develops, a combination of some of these symptoms is apparent. And although a pregnant woman might not know what to look for and may assume some of these symptoms are part of being pregnant, an obstetrician should be monitoring a pregnant woman closely in order to catch and treat health conditions like preeclampsia. In fact, doctors should be looking for any of the above symptoms. Even a slight rise in blood pressure should be a reason for more testing.
The Seriousness of Preeclampsia
If a doctor, midwife, or other healthcare provider failed to monitor an expectant mother carefully and preeclampsia wasn’t treated until too late, birth injuries as well as fatal injuries can occur for the mother and her baby, including:
- Placental abruption, which means the placenta separates from the uterus prematurely and causes heavy bleeding and placenta damage.
- Placental insufficiency, which can cause oxygen deprivation for the baby due to poor blood flow to the placenta.
- HELLP (hemolysis elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count)
- Eclampsia, which is the onset of seizures or coma for a pregnant woman with preeclampsia.
In addition to these adverse events, 18 percent of maternal deaths are caused by preeclampsia, according to Preeclampsia.org. Because of the seriousness of the disorder, obstetricians are supposed to test for preeclampsia and treat it to keep mothers and their babies safe.
If a doctor or medical professional offered poor maternal care and you suffered unnecessary injuries or your baby suffered birth injuries, you need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Additionally, if you lost a loved one due to a doctor’s negligence, please call us to talk about your potential legal case. You can reach one of our knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyers at (703) 721-4233 for a free consultation.