Preeclampsia is the third leading pregnancy-related cause of death,
accounting for an estimated 76,000 maternal deaths and 500,000 infant deaths each year globally. Preeclampsia affects approximately 5% of all pregnancies, and its symptoms include high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Some other symptoms are not always present, and they include swelling, weight gain, headaches and blurred vision.
Preeclampsia normally occurs in the second or third trimesters, around the 20th week of pregnancy. It used to be referred to as toxemia because it was believed to be caused by toxin in a woman's bloodstream. Were you a victim of preeclampsia? Meet with Millikan Wright, LLC, a St. Louis personal injury law firm, to discuss what your rights are after the development of preeclampsia and how your medical professional may be accountable!
The harbinger for preeclampsia is high blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, and excess protein in your urine. The appearance of protein in your urine is an indication that your kidneys are having problems. This again underscores the importance of regular prenatal care. These symptoms are normally uncovered during a regular prenatal visit, normally around the 20th week. Swelling, or edema, also occurs with preeclampsia, but this is not a reliable indicator for preeclampsia as it is normal for swelling to occur, especially during the end of your pregnancy.
Some other symptoms that may occur during the last few weeks of your pregnancy include:
- Severe headaches
- Blurred vision or sensitivity to light
- Abdominal pain, normally under the right rib
- Decrease in urine output or inability to urinate
- Blood in the urine
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weight gain because of the increase in bodily fluid
If preeclampsia is not treated,
will occur. In addition to the symptoms of preeclampsia, mothers with eclampsia will suffer seizures, which can cause coma and even death of both the mother and baby.
No one knows what causes preeclampsia. However, according to a 2006 study by the Mayo Clinic, pregnant women with elevated levels of two specific proteins in their blood were more likely to develop preeclampsia than other women. These proteins were found to interfere with the growth and function of blood vessels, which supports the theory that preeclampsia is caused by abnormalities in the blood vessels leading to the placenta. While the medical community is far from having an answer, it is hopeful that one day a blood test is available to screen for preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a condition that only affects pregnant women. Risk factors for this condition include:
- Pregnant for the first time
- You are 35 years of age or older
- You are obese
- You are carrying twins or multiples
- You have gestational diabetes
- You have a history of chronic high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease or lupus
- You have a family history of preeclampsia
With preeclampsia, there is a high risk of premature delivery, and the risks associated with that for the baby. Some of the risks of premature births include learning disabilities, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, plus vision and hearing problems. Also,
or the separation of the placenta from the uterus has been known to occur. Since preeclampsia affects the arteries leading to the placenta, it can prevent the placenta from receiving an adequate amount of blood and nutrients. This can cause your baby to be smaller than normal.
There is no cure or treatment for preeclampsia other than the delivery of your baby. However, if your baby is not close to term and delivering your baby is not an option, you will be given treatments to allow your baby to come closer to term. Sometimes, if your preeclampsia puts you in danger, it is recommended that labor be induced, even if it means your baby may not survive.
Some of the treatments you may be given:
- Magnesium to prevent eclampsia-related seizures
- An anti-hypertensive medication like hydralazine to manage high blood pressure
- Monitoring fluid intake
Did your doctor take the proper steps to ensure that you were taken care of when you were suffering preeclampsia and that all proper steps were performed to ensure that you were properly treated? At Millikan Wright, LLC, our St. Louis attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience handling cases like yours. We can identify some of the potential risk factors and let you know your rights are moving forward.
When your health, safety, and future are on the line, you need to be sure that your rights are protected. We are here for you. Call now for a free conversation with a dedicated member of our legal team!