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Missing warning signs of preeclampsia can lead to tragedy

It is important for many reasons that pregnant women and their doctors keep careful tabs on their health during pregnancy. A potentially fatal condition known as preeclampsia can occur when the woman's blood pressure rapidly rises.

Swelling and a rapid rise in blood pressure are early warning signs of this condition but a recent news report warns that these signs can often be missed by women and their doctors. The news article tells the story of one woman who lost her life to preeclampsia shortly after the birth of her daughter.

In retrospect, the first sign of trouble for this woman was apparently when she mentioned to her mother that her feet were starting to swell. They did not think that the swelling was an indication any mortal danger. A few days later, at appointment with her doctor, she had been told that her health care providers wanted to keep an eye on her blood pressure. Just two days later they brought the young woman in for a cesarean section delivery.

The newborn baby girl was born and was healthy, but it quickly became apparent that there were some complications with the mother's condition. They first realized that her kidneys had stopped functioning, and according to the woman's mother the situation quickly worsened. Shortly thereafter she was put on life support and held on for five more weeks before passing away.

Preeclampsia, like many potential birthing complications, can be treated much more successfully if medical personnel properly identify the risk factors and the underlying condition as early as possible.

Source: WNDU Channel 16 News "Preeclampsia: The Silent Killer" Maureen McFadden, April 26, 2011

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