While many women feel that their pregnancies are the happiest time of their lives, for others it can be marred by ill health and even deadly conditions.
One of those pregnancy traumas is preeclampsia. This dangerous condition affects approximately 5 percent of all pregnant women at some point after the 20th week of gestation. It often goes unnoticed by the mother-to-be because the first sign may be hypertension, which typically has no symptoms.
However, obstetricians are trained to detect signs of preeclampsia before it has a chance to cause problems for both the mother and fetus. If even a slightly higher blood pressure is noted, the physician should run additional tests for kidney or liver abnormalities or signs of protein in the urine.
Most cases develop near the 37th week of pregnancy, but it is possible for preeclampsia to manifest while the mother is in labor or even after the baby has been delivered.
The progression of the condition varies. Some women will have a rapid progression. Screening obstetrical patients at each visit by taking a urine sample and a blood pressure reading indicates that the doctor is keeping a close eye on potential deadly complications from preeclampsia.
While mild cases of preeclampsia may not cause adverse conditions in the mother or baby, severe cases can cause organ damage and quickly become life-threatening. When this occurs, it may be necessary to deliver the baby early to save its and the mother's lives.
Babies born to mothers with the condition can suffer from stunted growth, lack of amniotic fluid and placental abruption. If you or your newborn suffered ill effects because your obstetrician failed to properly monitor your condition, you may have a cause of action for a medical malpractice case.
Source: BabyCenter, "Preeclampsia," accessed Aug. 07, 2015