Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorneys Discuss Preeclampsia And Birth Injuries
Preeclampsia is a medical condition that can occur during pregnancy. Not only can preeclampsia cause serious injury to the mother, it can also have devastating effects on the baby. Preeclampsia can be characterized by an increase in the mother’s blood pressure, with damage to other organs in the body such as the kidneys and liver. For many women, preeclampsia will start at around 20 weeks of pregnancy with the mother’s blood pressure previously normal. However, suddenly the blood pressure becomes elevated, even slightly.
Preeclampsia is a serious medical condition and once diagnosed, doctors will begin to examine when appropriate delivery of your baby should occur. There is no treatment for preeclampsia and it will continue until the baby is delivered. A balance must be struck because if the baby is delivered too soon, then injury can occur due to the premature aspect of the baby. With that said, doctors must pay close attention to factors which suggest that mother is dealing with preeclampsia. Left undiagnosed, preeclampsia can lead to serious injury in mother and baby. Add to it, many mothers will not reveal symptoms of preeclampsia until the condition becomes severe (life-threatening to mother and baby). As a result, the earlier doctors can diagnosis the condition, the better chances for mother and baby.
Because of preeclampsia, babies can suffer from lack of blood flow getting to the placenta, placental abruption, and premature delivery, among other things. Profusion related issues can result in the following birth related injuries:
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
Baby Growth Restrictions
Preeclampsia And Birth Injuries
Below are some of the types of birth injuries preeclampsia can cause. Remember, the earlier the condition can be diagnosed, the better doctors and patient can deal with the challenges associated with preeclampsia.
Cerebral Palsy And Preeclampsia
A baby can develop cerebral palsy through an injury to the brain. Yes, in some cases a cerebral palsy diagnosis can be due to genetics (unknown causes also in some cases), but a brain injury at birth can also be the cause of a subsequent cerebral palsy diagnosis in a baby. If a baby suffers from birth asphyxia, then a brain injury can occur. Birth asphyxia can be caused by a reduction in oxygen to the baby, which can then lead to a brain injury and a cerebral palsy diagnosis. When a mother has problems controlling her blood pressure due to preeclampsia, this can lead to blood and oxygen problems in the baby, thus causing the baby to suffer a brain injury.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy And Preeclampsia
When a baby suffers from a reduced level of blood and oxygen, then a brain injury can occur. The term hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy essentially means a reduction in blood and oxygen, which leads to a brain injury. Preeclampsia can lead to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy because of the blood pressure issues in mother associated with preeclampsia. Because the baby depends on the mother for survival, problems with the mother can also lead to problems for the baby.
Placental Abruption And Preeclampsia
Placental abruption is a medical condition which occurs when the placenta detaches from the uterus. The placenta is important because it provides the baby with oxygen and nutrients. Injury to the baby can occur during placental abruption due to the heavy bleeding in mother which is the result of the placenta detaching from the uterus. Placental abruption can cause a hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy injury in a baby. The increased blood pressure associated with preeclampsia can result in placental abruption.
Placental Abruption And Preeclampsia
Because preeclampsia can restrict blood flow in the mother, this can affect the placenta. Restricted blood flow to the placenta can then lead to the placenta not developing and growing properly. A placenta that is not formed correctly can cause a slow growth rate in the baby, or fetal growth restriction. Fetal growth restriction can impose on some babies a low birth weight or premature delivery.
Mother Related Injuries Due To Preeclampsia
As mentioned above, preeclampsia can lead to catastrophic injury in the baby if not handled appropriately. Below are some of the types of injuries a mother can face when dealing with preeclampsia:
HELLP Syndrome: HELLP means hemolysis (loss of red blood cells), elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count. This condition occurs when preeclampsia is severe and can kill mother and baby.
Common Symptoms For HELLP
Upper Right Abdominal Pain
Eclampsia: Eclampsia is a form of uncontrolled preeclampsia which results in the common symptoms of preeclampsia plus seizures. Once doctors conclude that eclampsia is present, delivery of the baby is the most common course of action due to the serious risk of injury to mother and baby.
Organ Damage: The following are some of the organs which can be injured because of preeclampsia:
Risk Factors For Developing Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a medical condition which can only be developed during your pregnancy. Some of the risk factors associated with preeclampsia are:
Age: The risk increases for women who are over 40
Time Frame Between Having Babies: The risk of preeclampsia increases when having babies less than 2 years apart or more than 10 years apart
Multiple Babies (Twins, etc.…)
Babies With Different Partners: The risk of preeclampsia increases with each different partner versus multiple babies with the same partner
Preeclampsia Signs And Symptoms
Preeclampsia is a medical condition that can develop quietly. In addition, some mothers may not display any symptoms immediately. However, the closely monitoring of blood pressure can help determine if preeclampsia is developing. Other signs and symptoms can include:
Increased Protein In Urine
Pain Under The Right Side Ribs (Upper Abdominal Pain)
Vomiting & Nausea
Drop In Urine
Shortness Of Breath (Fluid In The Lungs)
Vision Problems (Blurred Vision And/Or Temporary Loss In Vision)
Sudden Weight Gain In Hands & Feet
How Doctors Diagnose Preeclampsia
Doctors can diagnose preeclampsia through the monitoring of a mother’s blood pressure and the use of certain tests. In addition, if any of the following conditions are present after 20 weeks, then doctors may use further testing to confirm the diagnosis.
Liver Function Issues
Fluid Build Up In The Lungs
Protein In Urine
Tests Which Can Be Used To Help Confirm A Preeclampsia Diagnosis
Blood Tests: These types of tests can help determine if the liver and kidneys are functioning properly
Fetal Ultrasound: The fetal ultrasound can detect the baby’s growth rate. If the placenta is not receiving enough blood, then the growth of the baby can be restricted, and fetal growth restriction might be present.
Urine Test: Doctors can detect whether there is protein in the urine, and the amount.
Nonstress Test: This test can measure the baby’s heart rate when the baby moves around
Has Mismanaged Preeclampsia Caused A Birth Injury In Your Child?
The faster doctors can diagnose preeclampsia the better the odds of dealing with its complications. When doctors delay or fail to diagnose a mother dealing with preeclampsia not only do they put the mother’s life in jeopardy, but they also risk serious injury or death for the child. A close monitor of the mother’s blood pressure, and other risk factors, can reveal in some cases whether the mother has developed preeclampsia. If doctors fail to notice the risk factors present for preeclampsia and fail to order tests to help confirm the diagnosis, and the condition is present and causes injury (to mother and/or baby), then a strong argument can be made that medical malpractice is the reason for the injury.
If you have been told that your baby is now suffering from a birth injury, and you suspect that the mismanagement of preeclampsia is the cause, know that there are individuals who you can speak with regarding the challenges that your child will have in the future.
Boston Law Group, LLC represents victims of birth injury and medical malpractice throughout Maryland. We can help victims in:
Prince George’s County
Anne Arundel County
St. Mary’s County
DO YOU THINK YOUR PREECLAMPSIA WAS MISDIAGNOSED AND NOW YOUR BABY HAS A BIRTH INJURY?
Don’t leave your child’s future challenges to chance.
Download our free birth injury e-book now to learn more.