When a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy, this is classified as
gestational hypertension or pregnancy induced hypertension / PIH. High blood pressure can be very dangerous for pregnant women. It is important that women experiencing high blood pressure during pregnancy be carefully and regularly examined and treated to make sure the PIH does not escalate into a more dangerous medical condition such as preeclampsia or eclampsia.
Preeclampsia, if not properly monitored and treated can cause cardiovascular or liver problems with the mother, or progress into eclampsia which can result in dangerous seizures of the mother. Preeclampsia can cause serious harm to the child as well by preventing the placenta from receiving a proper supply of blood, starving the baby of a necessary amount of oxygen and food. One result of this proper nutrient supply can be a baby born with a low birth weight.
One serious concern about PIH or preeclampsia is the possible escalation to eclampsia, which may force the baby to be delivered prematurely. This could result in a stillbirth or a child born with severe birth defects.
At this time, there is no proven formula for preventing PIH from occurring, but this does not excuse a negligent doctor from not detecting the signs of preeclampsia and providing treatment to prevent it from causing injuries to the mother or child. One of the reasons why high blood pressure must be carefully monitored and treated during pregnancy is high blood pressure left untreated can restrict the blood flow to vital organs in the fetus including the placenta, brain, liver, and kidneys.
Some women are at a greater risk for preeclampsia, including women with chronic high blood pressure, women who have had PIH or preeclampsia during previous pregnancies, pregnant women who are older, obese women, women who are giving multiple births, such as twins, women with medical problems including diabetes or kidney disease.
Doctor's should pay attention to pregnant women with high blood pressure, protein in the urine, frequent headaches, abdominal pain, and blurry vision. These may also be signs of other medical problems or normal pregnancy symptoms for certain women. A doctor will be able to examine the expected mother with an ultrasound, blood pressure and urine level tests, and an examination of the placenta for adequate blood flow.
The doctor may prescribe plenty of rest, plenty of water, exercise, no junk food or caffeine, nutritional supplements, and periodic doctor visits to ensure the safety of the infant and mother throughout the pregnancy.
If your physician fails to monitor or treat high blood pressure during pregnancy and this results in serious injuries to your baby or yourself as a result, you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact Dr. Bruce Fagel for more information including a free consultation.
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