What Is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a serious life-threatening complication which affects some pregnant women and their babies. Sometimes called “toxemia” in older medical literature, undiagnosed or improperly treated preeclampsia is a serious health risk that could lead to harmful injury or death of mother and baby.

Preeclampsia is a condition that usually starts after the 20th week of pregnancy, the third trimester of a pregnancy or occurs during the post-partum period. A diagnosis was traditionally made on a finding of three preeclampsia symptoms during a pregnancy: (1) high blood pressure; (2) swelling, particularly at the hands and feet; and (3) protein in the urine. Modern maternal-fetal medicine has recognized that high blood pressure is perhaps the central and most concerning preeclampsia symptom. A severe high blood pressure reading will lead to a preeclampsia diagnosis, even when the mother has no measurable protein in her urine or swelling.

Other features sometimes associated with preeclampsia include headaches, pain over the upper abdomen or shoulder, changes in vision, insufficient urine production, water retention, weight gain and difficulty breathing.

Injuries Caused by Failure to Diagnose or Treat Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia affects the arteries carrying blood to the placenta. If the placenta is damaged by not receiving enough blood, the baby may not receive enough oxygen and nutrients. This can cause slow growth, low birth weight or premature birth. Infants born very early can have increased risk severe brain injury and several other complications that could require a lifetime of medical care. Preeclampsia also increases the risk of placental abruption. Placental abruption occurs where the placenta detaches from the womb before delivery, which is a life-threatening condition for both mother and baby.

When preeclampsia isn’t controlled, it can lead to eclampsia. Also called eclamptic seizures, eclampsia is a convulsion or series of convulsions in the mother. Eclamptic seizures can cause serious harm and even death to mother and/or baby.

Contact a Preeclampsia Lawyer in California

If you believe that you or your loved one have been injured because of a failure to diagnose or treat preeclampsia, you should call and speak to our team of attorneys at Mulligan Law. Our firm of California medical malpractice lawyers are highly experienced in successfully handling a number of cases for medical negligence injuries caused by hypertensive disorders during pregnancy, including preeclampsia. There is no cost to call and have your case evaluated by our team of personal injury attorneys and medical malpractice professionals.

Please note that this page is not intended to serve as medical advice. If you have an urgent medical issue and suspect preeclampsia may play a role, please call your doctor or 911 immediately.