Preeclampsia can be a dangerous or fatal condition

Preeclampsia is a serious complication of pregnancy. It has a few symptoms that should be easily recognized by a doctor including high blood pressure and signs of injury to the organs (kidneys and liver most commonly). For the majority of women, preeclampsia begins at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later when their blood pressure was normal prior to pregnancy.

What happens if preeclampsia is not treated quickly?

If preeclampsia is not treated, it can cause complications that could be fatal to the mother or the baby. If it’s late enough in the pregnancy, one possible solution is to induce labor or to perform a cesarean section, which would help treat the mother’s high blood pressure. If the baby is still not to term or not far enough along to be delivered, then it’s essential that the mother and baby are closely monitored.

What are some obvious signs of preeclampsia?

Some obvious signs of preeclampsia include:

  • Decreased urine output
  • Shortness of breath from fluid in the lungs
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Changes in vision, such as sudden blurred vision
  • Severe headaches
  • Proteinuria or other signs of kidney problems

Sudden weight gain in your hands or face may also occur, but this edema is also normal in all pregnancies. Alone, it’s not enough to identify preeclampsia. Complications of preeclampsia include:

  • HELLP syndrome
  • Eclampsia (preeclampsia and seizures)
  • Organ damage
  • Preterm birth
  • Placental abruption

If you have signs of preeclampsia, it’s important that your medical provider sees you right away and starts a treatment plan. If they ignore your symptoms or allow you to suffer complications due to a misdiagnosis, then you may have a case. Our website has more information about what you should do if you or your child suffer from birth injuries.