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What Happens if Preeclampsia Goes Undiagnosed?

Aug. 9, 2019

According to March of Dimes, preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy condition characterized by high blood pressure. Most women develop it after the 20th week of pregnancy, though some do not develop it until after giving birth. Approximately 2% to 8% of pregnant women throughout Michigan and worldwide experience preeclampsia, while the condition causes about 15% of premature births. Most women who have preeclampsia deliver healthy babies, but when the condition remains undiagnosed, it can have serious health consequences for both Mom and baby.

If left untreated, preeclampsia can result in serious health complications for both you and your baby, and possibly even death. If you have preeclampsia, you may develop liver, kidney or brain damage. You may experience problems with how your blood clots, which can result in bleeding problems. In extreme cases, women experience eclampsia, which is a rare and life-threatening condition characterized by seizures or coma once preeclampsia has progressed.

Some women have strokes as a result of undiagnosed preeclampsia. This may occur as the result of a blood clot that interrupts or reduces the flow of blood to the brain. Preeclampsia also increases your risk of postpartum hemorrhage, which is heavy bleeding after birth. Though rare, if not treated, PPH can lead to shock and death.

As for the baby, undiagnosed and untreated preeclampsia can result in premature birth or placental abruption. Placental abruption occurs when the placenta pulls away from the uterine wall before birth. If placental abruption occurs, the baby may not receive enough oxygen or nutrients, which can cause cerebral palsy, heart disease or even still birth.

This article is not meant to serve as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.