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Missed preeclampsia can often be fatal

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Medical Errors |

Most pregnant women go through their entire pregnancy without having any major issues. For most of them, prenatal visits start out at every four weeks. As the pregnancy progresses, the visits may become more frequent.

The reason for these more frequent visits is that there are many things that can go wrong as the women gets closer to labor and delivery. One of these is preeclampsia, which is a condition that’s associated with protein in the urine and high blood pressure.

How is preeclampsia diagnosed?

For most women, there’s a noticeable spike in blood pressure when they have preeclampsia. During prenatal visits, a woman is asked to provide a urine sample, which should be checked for protein. Elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine sample are signs that preeclampsia may be occurring.

What are the other symptoms of preeclampsia?

There are several symptoms that can occur with preeclampsia, but many of these are also common with other conditions. Some of the common ones include:

  • Headaches that are severe and consistent
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blurred vision or light sensitivity
  • Nausea, with or without vomiting
  • Pain in the right upper abdominal area
  • Edema, or swelling, in the face and hands that is sudden and severe

Prenatal providers, as well as those who work in emergency care, should understand those signs.

What are the risks of untreated preeclampsia?

Untreated preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, which can cause seizures. In some cases, the woman may end up in a coma. Preterm birth, fetal growth restriction and placental abruption can also occur. All of these can be fatal to the mother, baby or both.

Any woman who suffered harm because of undiagnosed preeclampsia or whose baby was injured by it may opt to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Working with someone familiar with these matters can help them to learn their options so they can move forward with their claim.