What is pre-eclampsia?

Here medical negligence solicitors, Blackwater Law discuss pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia is a condition that is usually not life threatening that does however, impact many women during pregnancy. Although there is no known definitive cure, the condition is usually non-life threatening if monitored correctly. Given the potential severity of the condition and the impact it may have on both mother and baby it may be possible to see medical negligence compensation in instances where the condition has not been monitored correctly

What is Pre-eclampsia and what causes it

Pre-eclampsia is a condition which effects a relatively low proportion of pregnant women, usually during the second half of their pregnancy or soon after the baby is delivered. Although the exact cause of pre-eclampsia isn’t known, it’s thought to occur when there’s a problem with the placenta (the organ that links the baby’s blood supply to the mother’s). More medical research is needed to fully understand the origin and cause of pre-eclampsia.

Who can get it

Studies show that pre-eclampsia affects up to 6 out of every 100 pregnancies. Additionally, severe cases develop in 1 to 2 out of every 100. It has been discovered that there are a number of conditions or illnesses, previous or current, that may increase the chances of developing pre-eclampsia. These include:

  • Having diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease prior to starting pregnancy
  • Having a condition such as lupus or antiphospholipid syndrome (which increases risk of blood clots)
  • Having developed pre-eclampsia during a previous pregnancy

Others that are less severe may include:

  • Having a family history of the condition
  • Being over 40 years of age
  • The time between the previous pregnancy being 10 years or more
  • Expecting multiple babies
    Having a BMI (body mass index) of 35 or over

If you have multiple of the above conditions, your chances of developing pre-eclampsia are heightened. In these instances the midwife should be aware of the heightened chances of developing pre-eclampsia during the pregnancy and should monitor as a result. Where a midwife fails to carry out monitoring despite being in a higher risk group, it may be possible to seek midwife negligence compensation.

Symptoms & Signs

Some primary early signs of Pre-eclampsia are high blood pressure and proteinuria (Protein in your urine) which are unnoticeable to yourself on a day-to-day basis. As a result, it is important to attend all pre-antenatal appointments so that these symptoms, if present, can be discovered.

Despite this, some symptoms can occur that you may notice:

  • Swelling of feet, hands, ankles and/or face due to fluid retention.
  • Severe headaches
  • Vision problems
  • Pain just below ribs

How is pre-eclampsia treated?

If diagnosed with pre-eclampsia you should be referred to a specialist who will conduct an assessment. As the only known method to ‘curing’ pre-eclampsia is to deliver the baby, you will be monitored in hospital closely to determine the severity of the condition and kept until it is possible to deliver (Usually around week 37 to 38). At this time labour may be induced artificially or a caesarean section carried out.

Soon after delivery of the baby symptoms and the condition itself usually clear without any problems. However, in rare cases mothers may develop fits called “eclampsia” prior to delivery which can be life threatening to the mother and baby. This underlines the importance of Misdiagnosis Claims as such an event can delay treatment and can cause adverse issues. Additionally, this may warrant a Delayed Diagnosis Claim should there have been a delay in diagnosing the condition.

Get expert advice.

Call today and speak to Dominic Graham, specialist medical negligence solicitor. Find out if you can claim compensation.

CALL 0800 083 5500