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What Is Preeclampsia and How Serious Is It?

Submitted by jrlaw on Nov 5th, 2009

Preeclampsia is a potentially serious issue occurring during pregnancy, which can lead to serious birth injuries including cerebral palsy.
According to MyCerebralPalsyChild.org, preeclampsia is a pregnancy disorder characterized by a combination of high blood pressure and excess protein in one’s urine, often occurring at around the 20th week of gestation.
Between five and eight percent of pregnancies in the U.S. will be complicated by preeclampsia. This condition usually occurs in the last four or five months of pregnancy and involves a swift rise in the mother’s blood pressure. If left untreated or not monitored correctly, preeclampsia can cause very serious risks for the mother and severe birth injury for the baby.
There are certain groups of women who are more prone to developing preeclampsia, including women who are pregnant for the first time, pregnant women over 40 or under 20, multiple births, women with a family history of preeclampsia (or those who have experienced it in previous pregnancies), those with diabetes, those with existing high blood pressure or kidney disease, and those who are overweight.
Protein in the urine and swollen hands, ankles, and feet are common markers. In more complex cases, there are often vision disturbances, abdominal pain, and severe swelling.
Some of the consequences of untreated preeclampsia include fatal seizures, brain hemorrhage, retinal detachment, ruptured liver, premature placenta detachment and anemia caused by elevated liver enzymes. Often when a mother develops preeclampsia, the baby is delivered early to reduce the risk to the mother and baby.
If you or a loved one has been harmed due to undetected or improperly treated preeclampsia you should speak with an attorney. We deal with birth injury and medical malpractice cases and would be happy to look into the facts of your case for free.