Preeclampsia Awareness Month is observed in May and is an opportunity to shed light on this dangerous pregnancy condition. Preeclampsia is a disorder that only occurs in pregnancy or immediately after birth and can have a harmful effect on a mother and baby. It is one of the most common birth complications in the United States. If carefully monitored, steps can be taken to avoid the effects of preeclampsia.
What is Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that is characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to other organ systems, typically the liver or the kidneys. It usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women who usually have normal blood pressure. If left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to death or serious injury to a mother or baby. The most effective treatment is delivery of the baby.
What are the Symptoms of Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia can sometimes develop without any obvious symptoms. The first sign is typically a high blood pressure reading. Other symptoms may include:
- Excess protein in the urine or other signs of kidney problems
- Severe headache
- Vision changes
- Upper abdominal pain, usually on the right side
- Nausea or vomiting
- A decrease in urine output
- Decreased platelet levels in the blood
- Shortness of breath caused by fluid in the lungs
- Impaired liver function
- Sudden weight gain or swelling
Risk factors for preeclampsia include:
- Prior history
- Chronic hypertension
- First pregnancy
- Age—very young or over 35
- Pregnancy with multiples
- Long or short interval between pregnancies
- In vitro fertilization
Preeclampsia and Medical Negligence
In order to prevent the deadly effects of preeclampsia, it is important for medical professionals to act quickly. Careful monitoring is key, especially when a pregnant mother presents with risk factors. Blood pressure readings should be taken at every appointment, and higher readings should lead to further testing. A doctor’s failure to properly diagnose preeclampsia or manage the condition once it has been discovered could amount to medical malpractice.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or your loved one was injured as a result of preeclampsia, you should consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping the victims of medical negligence. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.