Pregnancy is often a wonderful time in the lives of expectant parents. As you wait for the arrival of the newest addition to your family, you may marvel at the changes your body is going through.
Not all of the changes that happen to a woman’s body during pregnancy are good, however. Some can put your life at risk. Even if things appear to be progressing smoothly, some conditions can manifest later in your pregnancy, and if your doctor isn’t monitoring you for signs that something could be wrong, your life may be in jeopardy. One of those conditions is preeclampsia.
What is preeclampsia?
Like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia only happens to women carrying babies. It often does not occur until after you reach week 20 of your pregnancy. That does not necessarily mean that signs and symptoms don’t exist. Your doctor should be monitoring you for the following symptoms that could mean you will suffer from this condition:
- Protein in the urine
- Water retention
- High blood pressure
- Upper right abdominal pain
- Bruising easily
- Blurred vision
- Intolerance to bright light
- Shortness of breath
- Infrequent urination
The first three symptoms may indicate a mild case of preeclampsia, but that does not mean you should ignore them. Left unchecked, the condition could worsen and become life threatening. Some women suffer from renal failure, liver failure and cardiovascular issues that can last beyond delivery.
How do I know if I’m at risk?
The following factors tend to indicate a greater chance of suffering from preeclampsia:
- BMI over 30
- High blood pressure prior to pregnancy
- First pregnancy
- Family history of preeclampsia
- Carrying multiples
- Under age 20
- Over age 40
- Previous preeclampsia
- Previous gestational hypertension
Since there is no way to prevent this condition, your doctor should take a thorough family and medical history to determine whether you have any of the above risk factors.
My doctor can treat it, right?
The best treatment for preeclampsia is giving birth. However, if your baby is not far enough along, you may require medication depending on the severity. In mild cases, you may require adjustments to your life until a doctor can safely deliver your baby.
The problem is that, left untreated, your baby could suffer harm as well. This condition can prevent blood from reaching the placenta and put your baby’s life in danger.
My doctor didn’t diagnose my condition until it was too late
If your doctor failed to identify risk factors, signs or symptoms that you could suffer from preeclampsia, and you (or your baby) suffered serious health complications because of it, you may be entitled to compensation. The problem is that medical malpractice cases here in Texas can be complex. If you believe you have a case, you may seek a full evaluation of your circumstances to determine whether filing a lawsuit would be appropriate in your case.