Symptoms & Causes of Postpartum Preeclampsia

Symptoms & Causes of Postpartum Preeclampsia

by / Wednesday, 18 May 2022 / Published in Birth Trauma, Medical Malpractice
A doctor uses a device to check a patient's blood pressure on their arm.

Preeclampsia is a very well-known type of maternal health complication that typically occurs between the halfway point of pregnancy and the latter stages of pregnancy. It occurs when the mother’s blood pressure becomes dangerously elevated, posing risks to both the mother and child if it is not properly managed. According to the Cleveland Clinic, preeclampsia occurs in about 8% of all deliveries around the world and results in about 15% of premature deliveries in the United States. 

While preeclampsia is often thought of as something that occurs during pregnancy, it’s important to remember that it can also occur after delivery as well. Like preeclampsia that occurs during pregnancy, postpartum preeclampsia is marked by dangerously high blood pressure. If not properly treated, postpartum preeclampsia can result in seizures, strokes, HELLP, organ damage, pulmonary edema, and even death. Postpartum preeclampsia most commonly develops within seven days of delivery, but the risk exists for six weeks after delivery. 

Symptoms of Postpartum Preeclampsia

Symptoms of postpartum preeclampsia include:

  • Swelling in the hands, face, arms, and legs
  • Stomach pain and nausea
  • Severe headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes in vision
  • Sudden weight gain

What Causes Postpartum Preeclampsia?

The exact causes of postpartum preeclampsia are unknown. However, there are some risk factors that have been linked to postpartum preeclampsia, including:

  • Age, being either under the age of 20 or over the age of 40
  • Carrying multiple babies
  • Obesity
  • A family history of postpartum preeclampsia
  • Experiencing high blood pressure during pregnancy

The Preeclampsia Foundation notes that ultimately any woman is at risk for postpartum preeclampsia, regardless of their weight or history of problems with blood pressure conditions. They also note that the risk of postpartum preeclampsia may even be higher among people who didn’t experience preeclampsia during pregnancy.

Treating Postpartum Preeclampsia

If a new mother develops postpartum preeclampsia, prompt medical treatment is essential. Doctors can prescribe things like blood pressure medication to bring down blood pressure levels and other medications to prevent complications like blood clots and seizures. When medical professionals take action quickly, the more likely it is that the mother will be able to make a full recovery. 

Contact a Michigan Birth Trauma Lawyer

Even with all the advances that have been made in terms of medical care during pregnancy and delivery, it’s still extremely easy for things to go wrong and for mistakes to be made. The tragic reality is that injuries that occur around the time of birth, both to the mother and the baby, very often could have been prevented. 

If you or your child was injured as the result of a medical mistake during pregnancy, during delivery, or during postpartum care, it’s extremely important to contact a birth trauma lawyer. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to talk to a lawyer experienced in handling both birth injury and medical malpractice cases in the state of Michigan. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Image: Pexels / Thirdman

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