What is Preeclampsia and Toxemia?

Often referred to as toxemia, preeclampsia is a medical condition in pregnant women who develop high blood pressure and elevated levels of protein in their urine.  The condition often occurs in the second or third trimesters of pregnancy and is often accompanied by swollen legs, hands and feet.  Left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, which is when a pregnant woman suffers from seizures.  Eclampsia is often the result of the placenta not working properly and puts the mother and unborn child at serious risk, including death.  While there is no cure for preeclampsia, it can be managed properly if detected early.

The exact cause of preeclampsia is not known.  However, there are several risk factors associated with the disease.  For instance, the condition usually occurs in first time pregnancies, pregnant teenagers and pregnant women over 40.  Mothers who are obese, have high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes or lupus are also at risk of developing preeclampsia.  The condition may also occur in women who are carrying more than one child.

In addition to developing swollen hands, feet, and legs, women with preeclampsia may also experience other symptoms.  They may gain weight rapidly as a result of increased body fluid.  They may also experience abdominal pain, severe headaches, dizziness and have problems urinating.  However, women with preeclampsia may not experience any symptoms at all, which is why it is important for pregnant women to seek ongoing medical care to detect such problems.

Preeclampsia can affect both the mother and her unborn child.  Because the condition can prevent blood flow to the placenta, a child may be born very small.  In addition, preeclampsia is a leading cause of premature births, which can contribute to learning disabilities, hearing and vision problems and cerebral palsy.  Finally, the condition can cause the placenta to separate from the uterus, which can lead to stillbirth.  Mothers with preeclampsia are at a greater risk of having a stroke, heart failure and developing water in the lungs.

The only cure for preeclampsia is to deliver the baby.  If the baby is developed enough to delivery, doctors may induce labor or perform a cesarean section.  However, if the baby is not developed enough to deliver, pregnant women will be assigned to bed rest and be given medications to manage blood pressure and prevent seizures.  Health care professionals will also monitor the baby routinely through ultrasounds and a fetal heart monitor.

How Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC Can Help If You Suffered from Preeclampsia During Pregnancy

Preeclampsia is a dangerous medical condition which can result in an infant having cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, epilepsy and vision or hearing problems.  The condition can also be dangerous for the mother, who can suffer from seizures.  In some cases, medical professionals may fail to diagnose or properly treat preeclampsia.  If you developed preeclampsia during pregnancy, our firm may be able to help.  If retained, we will examine your child’s medical history, including medical records during pregnancy, labor and after-care.  If your preeclampsia could have been prevented, we will recover compensation from those responsible.  Contact Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC today.

Office Phone Numbers