Pregnant women must be monitored closely throughout the pregnancy. As she gets closer to her due date, visits with the doctor are likely going to increase. This is because she is at risk of serious health complications that can impact her and the baby once she reaches the 20th week of pregnancy.
Preeclampsia is a condition that only occurs during pregnancy and can be deadly for the mother and baby if it goes unchecked and leads to eclampsia. Unfortunately, the only cure for it is delivering the baby. Options to try to keep the mother and baby stable are possible, but obtaining those means that the woman has to be diagnosed with the condition.
Signs of preeclampsia
Preeclampsia occurs when the woman has high blood pressure and possibly protein in her urine. A woman who has a blood pressure of 140/90 at two readings that are at least four hours apart should be evaluated for the possibility of preeclampsia. At this point, the woman and her unborn baby must be carefully monitored. Preeclampsia is one of the reasons why most obstetrical practices do a urine test and take vital signs for a pregnant woman at each visit.
Factors that increase risk of preeclampsia
Many factors can signal an increase in the likelihood that a woman will have preeclampsia. Having a family history of the condition, being obese, having more than one fetus, being over 40 or under 20 at the time of the pregnancy and having a history of other medical conditions are all indications that she might end up preeclamptic. These risk factors are an indication that the woman should be monitored more closely than women who don’t have these issues.
Problems with undiagnosed or improperly treated preeclampsia
When this condition isn’t properly diagnosed and treated, the mother’s condition can advance to eclampsia and she might suffer from organ failure, stroke or seizures. Death of the mother or the baby is possible. Other issues might occur with the baby. There is a careful balance that doctors must find when they are trying to treat this condition because they have to focus on keeping two interdependent patients safe from harm.
If there is harm from preeclampsia that wasn’t diagnosed or treated appropriately, the woman might be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice claim. When wrongful death of the mother or the baby occurs, the family members who are left behind can pursue a claim for compensation. Monetary damages are included in each of these cases.