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Did an OB miss the signs of pre-eclampsia?

Having a baby is an exciting yet worrisome and stressful experience. Any number of issues may arise to cause an OB concern as a patient navigates approximately 40 weeks of pregnancy. For instance, if a woman were to show signs of pre-eclampsia, which is a serious and possibly life-threatening condition, an OB would know what swift action to take to try to keep her and her infant safe.

What are the symptoms of pre-eclampsia?

Sadly, pre-eclampsia is a major cause of pregnancy-related death in this country. It is imperative that an OB and medical team know how to recognize symptoms of this condition. The following list shows some of the most common issues that constitute an urgent pre-eclampsia situation during pregnancy:

  • Blood pressure that is higher than 140/90 mmHg
  • Excessive and rapid maternal weight gain
  • Vision impairment that may include “flashing” lights
  • Unrelenting heartburn
  • Nausea or vomiting in second or third trimesters
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of face or hands
  • Severe headaches
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Burning sensation during relief of bladder

It’s always best to immediately report any of these symptoms to an OB or midwife, so that he or she can run tests to rule out pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia may also occur during post-partum recovery

There is a continued risk for this condition up to six weeks after a baby is born. If a pregnant woman is younger than age 18 or older than 40, her OB will no doubt closely monitor for signs of pre-eclampsia because she is in a high-risk group. Additional issues that increase the risk for this condition include pre-pregnancy obesity or a first-time pregnancy.

Surviving pre-eclampsia is possible

Surviving this condition places a woman at risk for adverse health conditions later in life. An obstetrician knows what to do to try to get the mother’s blood pressure under control to avoid fatality. If a woman or her child suffers injuries because of substandard medical care, the family shouldn’t have to bear the full financial burdens that may be associated with damages, such as additional medical treatments, lost wages due to time off work or other expenses. Oregon law allows recovering patients to seek restitution in court against those deemed responsible for damages.