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What is preeclampsia, and what happens if it isn’t diagnosed?

On Behalf of | Feb 6, 2018 | Birth Injuries

Expectant mothers often worry about complications that could occur during pregnancy. While many complications that arise are not serious, others can be life-threatening for the mother and the baby. One of these life-threatening complications is preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is a term that most women have never heard of before getting pregnant. Some pregnant women don’t always hear about it, even if they have it, until it has become severe. This is because some medical professionals fail to accurately diagnose preeclampsia.

Understanding preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a hypertensive disorder that can affect expectant mothers. Its symptoms include high blood pressure, protein in the urine, blurred vision and impaired liver function. It usually arises after the 20th week of pregnancy if there is insufficient blood flow to the placenta or damage to the placental blood vessels. There is no known cure for preeclampsia-the mother must simply give birth, after which the condition may improve.

Failure to diagnose preeclampsia

Diagnosing preeclampsia is crucial in order to accurately monitor the mother’s health during the rest of the pregnancy. If preeclampsia is not swiftly diagnosed, it can be fatal for both mother and baby.

Because preeclampsia can be asymptomatic, it can admittedly be difficult to detect. Its symptoms frequently resemble those of pregnancy: Nausia, headaches and various aches and pains are common complaints of pregnant mothers, after all. But if you have expressed concern about these symptoms to your doctor, it is crucial that he take them seriously. Doctors have been known to be dismissive of pregnant patients’ complaints, brushing them aside as typical side effects of pregnancy when they are in fact indicative of a serious prenatal complication.

There are several things that doctors can and should do to diagnose preeclampsia. One of the most important is noticing any spikes in blood pressure, as high blood pressure during pregnancy is one of the main indicators of the disorder. Doctors who fail to diagnose preeclampsia may be guilty of negligence. Negligence that results in a birth injury may even be an example of medical malpractice. In these situations, patients may have legal recourse to receive compensation for their damages.