Preeclampsia is characterized by the development of high blood pressure during pregnancy. To meet the diagnostic criteria for preeclampsia as opposed to pregnancy-induced hypertension or gestational hypertension, an expectant mother’s blood pressure must measure 140 systolic or more or 90 diastolic or more on two occasions at least four hours apart after 20 weeks of gestation; or the mother’s blood pressure must measure 160 systolic or more or 110 diastolic or more; and protein measurements of greater than 1+ or 300 mg per 24 hours must be present in urine samples (proteinuria). The presence of protein in a pregnant woman’s urine is indicative of the dangerous condition preeclampsia. Below, a preeclampsia lawyer from our firm discusses causes of preeclampsia, symptoms, complications and treatments.
The cause of preeclampsia is unknown, and the condition occurs in a small number of pregnancies. However, several factors have been found to increase the risk of preeclampsia development. Preeclampsia risk factors include, but are not limited to:
Symptoms of preeclampsia may include:
Some of preeclampsia’s symptoms mimic migraines and are similar to common pregnancy side effects. Because of this, regular prenatal visits and urinary laboratory testing are necessary to screen for preeclampsia.
Complications from preeclampsia can result in both maternal and fetal injury, and in severe cases, death. Pregnant women with preeclampsia are at risk for:
High blood pressure can also affect blood flow to the placenta, resulting in reduced oxygen to the fetus. As a result, the fetus is at risk for inhibited growth and preterm delivery. Due to incomplete development and low birth weight, preterm infants are subject to additional complications at birth. These complications include, but are not limited to:
Preterm infants can also be subject to life-long problems such as cerebral palsy, impaired development and vision, and a number of chronic health issues.
The only assured treatment for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby and placenta. However, mild preeclampsia may be managed with at-home care and close physician monitoring. At home, the mother will have to monitor fetal movement daily, and also her own blood pressure. This type of management requires more frequent prenatal visits and testing to ensure that the disorder does not escalate to severe preeclampsia. Testing will include frequent blood tests, ultrasounds, and non–stress tests.
In the event of severe preeclampsia, the mother will require hospitalization. Severe preeclampsia is indicated by significantly elevated blood pressure and considerably high protein levels in the urine. A physician will induce labor if the fetus is of sufficient gestational age. Then, the physician will administer medications, typically by injection, to help the baby’s lungs mature. To prevent seizures and to lower blood pressure, the mother may be given medications intravenously such as magnesium sulfate. After delivery of the baby and placenta, preeclampsia symptoms typically resolve. However, it may take a full six weeks for the mother’s blood pressure and laboratory values to return to normal, so it is very important to attend physician appointments after delivery.
If you experienced preeclampsia during your pregnancy and your child has suffered as a result, contact a preeclampsia attorney from our firm at (877) 262-9767. Our Chicago birth injury lawyers represent families across the United States. A preeclampsia lawyer from our firm may be able to help you. We have offices located in Chicago, New York and Wilmington, DE.
The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.