Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Rare pregnancy-induced condition can be fatal

In Oct. 2010, a woman went into labor and had a perfectly healthy pregnancy. Her daughter was born with no complications, and for a few days the woman felt fine. But then she started to have bouts with chest pain, and she struggled to catch her breath. She also felt dizzy and she constantly had a dull headache. As it turned out, the woman had something called preeclampsia, a severe form of pregnancy-induced hypertension. Doctors never warned her about this condition, and she was completely unaware of preeclampsia or its dangers.

The woman has used her experience to spread word about the preeclampsia and other severe forms of pregnancy-induced hypertension. The facts of this somewhat-mysterious and yet all-too-common condition are startling.

About 1 in 12 women suffer from pregnancy-induced hypertension, which is a fairly high rate. But only 5.7 percent of those women who get the condition suffer from the rare and deadly form of it known as preeclampsia. This condition kills 76,000 women every year. Preeclampsia causes headaches, weight gain, dizziness, stomach pain, vision issues, nausea and issues with reflexes, among a number of other symptoms. It is a progressive condition, which means that if you don't treat it as soon as possible, it will get worse and you will eventually suffer fatal complications.

The most alarming aspect of this story is the lack of information provided to the woman about preeclampsia and pregnancy-induced hypertension by her doctors. This is a fatal condition that pregnant women need to know about, because if they are not told about preeclampsia, how could they possibly identify it or know that what is happening to them is outside the norm?

Source: ABC News, "High Blood Pressure Nearly Kills Mom After Normal Pregnancy," Susan Donaldson James, May 20, 2014

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