Normal pregnancies come with aches, pains, discomfort, nausea and fatigue. But these can also be symptoms of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia refers to high blood pressure in pregnant women. If doctors fail to diagnose and treat this condition, it can lead to serious health risks for mothers and babies.  

It is vital for doctors to be diligent in detecting and resolving preeclampsia in expecting moms. When the failure to diagnose preeclampsia results in harm to patients, doctors may be guilty of medical malpractice.

Risk factors

Certain expecting mothers are more likely to have preeclampsia than others:

  • First-time pregnancies
  • Pregnant moms under 20 or over 40
  • Obesity
  • Carrying multiple fetuses
  • Family history
  • A history of diabetes, lupus, kidney disease or rheumatoid arthritis

Doctors are responsible for determining whether an expecting mother is at a high risk of developing preeclampsia. 

Common symptoms

High blood pressure is the most notable sign of preeclampsia, especially in mothers who do not have a history of high blood pressure. Protein in urine, rapid weight gain, severe headaches, reduced urine output and excessive vomiting are also indicators of preeclampsia. 

Complications

Preeclampsia can result in various pregnancy complications and birth defects, such as premature births, epilepsy, learning disabilities and cerebral palsy. Mothers may also suffer from seizures, strokes, heart failure, liver bleeding and water filling up the lungs. In severe circumstances, preeclampsia can cause placental abruption and stillbirth.

Treatments

Delivery is the only way to get rid of preeclampsia. When babies are close to term, doctors may recommend inducing labor or performing C-sections. Other methods of treating preeclampsia symptoms include bed rest, fetal heart rate monitors, frequent ultrasounds, urine and blood tests and blood pressure medications. 

Negligence

Unfortunately, it is possible for medical professionals to fail in prenatal care. When doctors do not diagnose a serious condition like this and it causes harm to expectant mothers and/or babies, the patients may be able to pursue medical malpractice lawsuits.