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Preeclampsia: Symptoms, Risks, and What You Can Do About It

Updated April 21, 2021 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

What Is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs during pregnancy and is often indicated by high blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy. Preeclampsia can also occur after birth, which is known as postpartum preeclampsia. Preeclampsia indicates that some of a women’s organs, such as her liver or kidneys, may not be functioning normally. This serious condition affects 2 to 8 percent of pregnancies worldwide and causes about 15 percent of premature births.

The majority of pregnant women with preeclampsia have healthy babies. However, if it is not treated properly, it can cause serious problems for both mother and baby, including premature birth and even death.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Preeclampsia?

Signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Water retention
  • Protein in urine
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue, nausea, and/or vomiting
  • Urinating small amounts
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Abdominal pain

Who is at Risk for Preeclampsia?

While the exact cause of preeclampsia is unknown, there are certain factors that put some pregnant women more at risk for preeclampsia than others. These risk factors include:

  • First-time moms
  • Previous experience with gestational hypertension or preeclampsia
  • Women carrying multiple babies
  • Women younger than age 20 and women older than age 40
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Obesity

What are the Effects of Preeclampsia?

Without treatment, preeclampsia can complicate pregnancies and cause serious health problems in both women and infants.

Some complications for mothers may include:

  • Kidney, liver, and brain damage or failure
  • Strokes
  • Problems with blood clotting (excessive bleeding) (postpartum hemorrhage)
  • Eclampsia (a severe form of preeclampsia that leads to seizures in the mother)
  • HELLP Syndrome (a condition that affects the breakdown of red blood cells, how the blood clots, and liver function)

Some complications for infants may include:

Negligence Associated with Preeclampsia

There is no cure for preeclampsia, but doctors can administer certain tests to help diagnose and monitor it. Examples of doctor negligence associated with preeclampsia include:

  • Failure to diagnose or properly treat preeclampsia
  • Failure to run necessary tests
  • Failure to recommend bed rest, dietary changes, or supplements
  • Failure to treat you with blood pressure medication when necessary

Contact a Birth Injury Attorney Today

An Indianapolis birth injury lawyer at Wilson Kehoe Winingham will have years of experience dealing with cases like yours and a passion for getting families the care that they need. Our Indianapolis attorneys can help you build a case and ensure you’re not alone during this difficult time.

With a strong and trustworthy birth injury attorney, you’ll have someone advocating for what’s rightfully yours. Contact the attorneys at WKW for a consultation to decide how to best move forward with your case. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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