Advances in modern medicine continue to astound us and have surely been benefiting patients and families in Joliet. It seems our country has come light years, from even just a century ago, in providing better prenatal care and child delivery, resulting in significantly lower mortality rates and birth injuries. Even so, we’re not entirely out of the woods yet.
Pregnancy-related injuries and conditions such as preeclampsia, eclampsia and a condition known as HELLP syndrome are still a threat to moms and moms-to-be in Illinois and throughout the country. Each year in the U.S., about 300,000 pregnant or postpartum women develop one of these conditions, resulting in about 300 deaths. Another 75,000 women have close calls after experiencing other severe complications and injuries during or after pregnancy, like organ failure, massive blood loss and permanent disability.
Although there are a number of conditions that could affect pregnant women and their babies, many doctors don’t even discuss or inform their pregnant patients about the conditions. During prenatal appointments, doctors often ask questions about swelling, dizziness and vision problems, but they don’t tell patients why they are asking these questions.
Alarmingly, more than 50 percent of women who suffer from preeclampsia are unaware of the condition until they begin to experience complications. The Preeclampsia Foundation urges women to know the symptoms, which include headaches, changes in vision, swelling of the hands and face, upper abdominal pain and difficulty breathing.
Being aware of the symptoms can empower women, who may also find peace of mind in knowing regular prenatal visits typically include routine monitoring to check for signs of preeclampsia. Such visits and monitoring should allow mothers and medical care providers to talk more openly about what’s being checked, and what’s normal versus what may need to be watched or monitored in case of any concerning changes.
In order to make sure more women are aware of the potential complications they could experience during and after pregnancy, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is soon to release revised preeclampsia management guidelines that will include patient education.
Source: The Daily Beast, “Beyond ‘Downtown Abbey’: Preeclampsia Maternal Deaths Continue Today,” Eleni Tsigas and Christine Morton, Jan. 28, 2103
- Our firm provides counsel to pregnant women and their babies who have been harmed by medical malpractice in Joliet and throughout Illinois. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Will County birth injury attorney page.