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What is Preeclampsia? What if My Doctor Fails to Treat it?

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During pregnancy, there are many exciting emotions and new experiences. Each pregnancy is different for every woman and while the excitement is real, the concern for proper care for mother and child is constant. Due to medical advancements, many maternal deaths can be prevented if treated properly. Such disorders like preeclampsia, one of the most common pregnancy complications, can be treated. However, if left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to more serious conditions.

What is Preeclampsia?

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Preeclampsia is diagnosed in the third trimester by persistent high blood pressure or the development of decreased blood platelets, trouble with kidneys or the liver, fluid in the lungs, or signs of seizures and visual difficulties. About five to eight percent of pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia and can worsen without proper treatment. Typical symptoms of preeclampsia are:

  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Visual impairments

In addition to these symptoms, doctors are watching for high blood pressure. If diagnosed with preeclampsia, impairments of the kidney and liver function, blood clotting problems, buildup of fluid on the lungs, slower blood flow to the placenta, and seizures are expected. The very worst cases may result in maternal or infant death.

Risk Factors of Preeclampsia

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The Preeclampsia Foundation has identified several risk factors for preeclampsia. Although the medical community would like to have a comprehensive list of risk factors and prevention steps, the cause of preeclampsia is unknown. Some common risk factors include:

  • Previous history of preeclampsia or family history
  • Pregnant with more than one baby
  • History of high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, or organ transplants
  • The first pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Over the age of 40 or younger than 18
  • Other diseases

Treating Preeclampsia

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If you are diagnosed with preeclampsia, a treatment plan can be made. A typical treatment plan considers numerous factors such as gestational age and health of the baby, the overall health and age of the mother, the development of the baby, and the assessment of blood pressure, test results, kidney and liver condition.

Although the Preeclampsia Foundation has identifies the cure for preeclampsia as being delivery of the baby and placenta, the condition must be managed before birth. Common management plans for the mother include prescribed anti-hypertensive medications or steroids to help the baby’s lungs grow stronger before birth. In addition to these measures, there are other actions the American Pregnancy Association recommends for controlling blood pressure during pregnancy:

  • Reduce the amount of salt in meals.
  • Drink six to eight glasses of water a day.
  • Do not eat lots of fried food.
  • Get enough rest.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Elevate your feet often during the day.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

What If My Doctor Fails to Treat My Preeclampsia?

The failure to treat preeclampsia can lead to fatal outcomes for the mother or baby. If a birth injury or death can be traced to untreated preeclampsia, you may have a medical malpractice case. Families of newborn babies can seek damages based on the negligence of their doctor with the assistance of experienced Muncie medical malpractice attorneys.

Hire a Muncie Medical Malpractice Attorney

Pregnancy brings exhilarating experiences and memories but also fears and concerns. If you or a loved one believes they had untreated preeclampsia and have suffered a loss of a child, mother, or have a newborn with birth injuries, call the attorneys at Hensley Legal Group. Do not hesitate to contact us online for your free consultation today.