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When preeclampsia goes undiagnosed

While bringing a baby into the world is a natural thing, this does not mean it is without risks. Many things can go wrong during pregnancy that, if undiagnosed, can have severe -- if not fatal -- consequences for the mother and baby. One such complication is preeclampsia, which numerous mothers in Louisiana experience every year.

Several factors play into the cause of preeclampsia. So, why one develops this condition may not be easily identifiable. There are known risk factors that should make it easier for doctors to identify patients who may develop this complication. Some of those risk factors are:

  • First pregnancy
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Being younger than 20
  • Being older than 40
  • History of high blood pressure
  • History of migraine headaches

Preeclampsia may develop without symptoms or slowly over time. In many cases, however, it has a sudden onset. Once signs of preeclampsia appear -- such as protein in the urine or high blood pressure -- it may not take long for the mother to experience stroke, seizures, organ failure or death. The only cure for preeclampsia is to deliver the baby.

Preeclampsia is believed to be one of the leading causes of maternal and infant death and illness, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation. Sadly, it often goes undiagnosed because medical providers fail to recognize the signs or fail to take appropriate action when symptoms appear. If the failure to diagnose this condition is the result of medical negligence, victims or -- in the event of fatality -- their surviving family members may be entitled to seek compensation for their losses. Those in Louisiana who think they may have a case can turn to legal counsel to discuss next steps.

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