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Preeclampsia poses risks to pregnant mothers

Expecting a new baby is supposed to be a wonderful, exciting time in the lives of parents-to-be. The last thing parents should have to worry about is the quality of their prenatal care.

One of the most important aspects of prenatal care is adequate monitoring and diagnosis. If hospital staff members fail to monitor a mother and her child, birth injuries can result. In addition, doctors need to monitor a mother's vital signs for potential complications.

Although many people may not have heard of it until they experience it, preeclampsia is dangerous and potentially fatal pregnancy complication that happens when a woman has high blood pressure and protein in her urine late in her pregnancy.

In the United States, about five percent of pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia. Preeclampsia carries major risks to both child and mother. While the complication does not have many telltale symptoms, it can lead to preterm delivery, maternal death and stillbirth. This makes it one of the most dangerous pregnancy complications out there.

Many symptoms of preeclampsia aren't quickly identified because the symptoms can be easily mistaken for common aches and pains that happen late in a pregnancy or after labor. Symptoms of preeclampsia include swelling in the hands and in the face. Symptoms of severe preeclampsia include a headache, blurred vision, nausea, abdominal pain and decreased urine.

Specific medical tests can help detect risks faster, reduce the adverse consequences of pregnancy and enhance the overall standard of care for the mother and child. However, when a physician fails to notice the potentially dangerous symptoms of preeclampsia, mothers and children are placed at risk.

Sources: PubMed Health, "Preeclampsia," Sept. 12, 2011

Rrightdiagnosis.com, "Prevalence and Incidence of Preeclampsia"

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