COVID & The Risk of Preeclampsia
Throughout any pregnancy, it’s critical for the mother’s medical condition to be carefully monitored by her doctor. There are a lot of things that need to be watched to make sure everything is progressing as expected and to detect signs of any potential complications. The sooner potential signs of complications are detected, the sooner they can be addressed and the risk of injury can be minimized. Maternal blood pressure conditions, such as preeclampsia, are one thing that doctors should watch for.
What is Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a type of blood pressure condition that can develop during pregnancy, but can also occur after delivery. Typically, it occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy and causes high blood pressure (above 140/90 mmHg) with high levels of protein in the urine. If an expectant mother has preeclampsia, they can experience sudden swelling in the hands and face, blurred vision, abdominal pain, or shortness of breath. In severe cases of preeclampsia, symptoms can include blood pressure 160/110 mmHg, reduced kidney and liver function, and low blood platelet levels.
When an expectant mother has preeclampsia, delivering the baby as soon as possible is often recommended to protect the health of the mother and to prevent harm to the baby. Whether or not to deliver the baby depends on factors like how severe the preeclampsia is and how far along the pregnancy is.
The Link Between COVID & Preeclampsia
It has never been clear what, exactly, causes preeclampsia. Some doctors believe it’s linked to genetic factors, others believe it may be caused by problems with blood vessels that reach the placenta. Some other risk factors for preeclampsia can include carrying multiple babies, the mother being over the age of 35, and the mother having high blood pressure before pregnancy.
However, some research suggests that contracting COVID-19 during pregnancy could be linked to an increased risk of developing preeclampsia. In the INTERCOVID study, completed in October 2020, researchers looked at over 2,000 pregnant women in 18 countries and found that those who had COVID developed preeclampsia at a rate nearly twice as high compared to those who hadn’t had COVID. In this study, 9 in 100 women who had COVID during pregnancy developed preeclampsia while preeclampsia occurred in 5 out of 100 women who didn’t have COVID during pregnancy.
A 2021 review of multiple other studies also found that the risk of preeclampsia, particularly severe cases of preeclampsia, was higher among women who had COVID during pregnancy compared to those who didn’t. This was true whether the mother experienced symptomatic or asymptomatic cases of COVID, although symptomatic cases of COVID had a higher risk of preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia & Birth Trauma
If not treated correctly or is left untreated, preeclampsia can be very dangerous for both the mother and the baby. For the mother, some of the health risks include seizures, strokes, heart attacks, and kidney disease. For the baby, there’s risk for placental abruption, inhibited growth, preterm delivery, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), impaired vision, respiratory issues, cerebral palsy, and seizures.
Contact a Michigan Birth Injury Lawyer
It’s extremely important for doctors to carefully monitor a patient’s health to watch for signs of preeclampsia, especially if a patient has potential risk factors. In some cases, an expectant mother might not show any symptoms of having preeclampsia or dismiss their symptoms as typical pregnancy symptoms, so doctors need to act quick when they have reason to suspect it.
If you or your child was harmed after preeclampsia, don’t hesitate to contact a Michigan birth trauma lawyer. Birth injuries are often the result of medical errors and you need someone on your side who knows the law and has experience holding doctors and healthcare systems accountable for their actions. At Scott Goodwin Law, you’ll be able to get help from a lawyer who has helped people who have been in your shoes. Contact us today for a free case consultation so that you can learn more about your legal options.