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Signs and risks of preeclampsia

It is estimated that roughly 10,500 babies die every year from preeclampsia in the United States alone. The number is even higher worldwide.

For New York parents expecting the birth of a new baby, the nine months of pregnancy should be ones filled with joy and anticipation. However, along with this comes the reality that pregnancy is essentially a medical condition not immune to complications. Sometimes, those complications may pose serious consequences to babies and mothers alike.

What is preeclampsia?

WebMD explains that preeclampsia is a condition in which the placenta fails to properly function. It may limit the amount of blood that is delivered to the uterus, resulting in diminished levels of both nutrition and oxygen for the baby.

Who may develop preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia may develop in any pregnancy. That said, it is most common in the latter of a pregnancy, in first pregnancies and in mothers under 20 or over 40 years old. Some known risk factors do exist. These include family history, maternal high blood pressure when not pregnant and even a mother's history of things like kidney disease, diabetes and being overweight.

What is the risk to an unborn baby?

Due to the lowered blood flow via the placenta, the Preeclampsia Foundation indicates a baby may face the risk of being premature or having a low birth weight. Learning disorders, epilepsy, loss of hearing or sight and cerebral palsy have been identified in babies born to mothers with preeclampsia. There may also be a greater chance of developing high blood pressure, diabetes or other conditions later in life.

What are the signs or symptoms of preeclampsia?

In some cases, there may be no visible signs warning pregnant women. Tracking the weight, blood pressure and protein urine levels during pregnancy is essential. These should be done regularly by providers.

While weight does naturally increase during pregnancy, an exceptionally high jump may be a warning sign. Blood pressure that exceeds a certain level, especially relative to a woman's pre-pregnancy blood pressure, may also be concerning. Finally, the presence of too much protein in the urine is known to be a potential sign of preeclampsia.

What can be done if a woman has preeclampsia?

Many times, a pregnant woman will be placed on bedrest or instructed to limit activity. Other times, delivery of a baby will be necessary. Proper monitoring of mothers and babies is essential in order to identify preeclampsia as soon as possible, especially because there is no known way of preventing preeclampsia from developing.

Anyone in New York who has concerns about the level of care received by a prenatal provider, especially when a serious condition like preeclampsia may be involved, should reach out to an attorney. This is an important way of learning when and how you may be able to pursue compensation if a mistake has been made.

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