Responding to High Blood Pressure in Mothers

blood pressure cuffIt’s an unfortunate situation, but there are a number of things that can go wrong when a mother goes into labor, like high blood pressure. Some mothers are able to successfully go through pregnancy and labor with high blood pressure and have healthy babies, but it is something that must be properly monitored. If not, it can be dangerous to the mother and the baby, and it can result in serious damages.

At Aldous \ Walker, our Dallas birth injury lawyers understand the various dangers associated with high blood pressure during pregnancy. This is especially true for women who have chronic high blood pressure or a pre-existing condition involving high blood pressure. They don’t necessarily need to have a history of high blood pressure. They could suffer gestational hypertension — or high blood pressure developed during pregnancy.

One of the biggest issues that can arise when a mother has high blood pressure is a failure to properly respond. Doctors, nurses and hospitals must monitor a mother’s blood pressure and have a plan of action should if the mother’s blood pressure is high. If the health care providers fail to do so, there are a number of problems that can occur:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Preterm delivery
  • Emergency C-section
  • Restricted fetal growth
  • Placental abruption


Preeclampsia — also called toxemia of pregnancy — can cause a number of issues within a woman’s body. This serious blood pressure disorder usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy, but can also occur during postpartum. It’s normally caused by a history of hypertension, age, certain medical conditions, or a history of preeclampsia. One of the signs of preeclampsia is an abnormal amount of protein present in the woman’s urine. Other symptoms include:

  • Changes in eyesight or seeing spots
  • Upper abdomen or shoulder pain
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Nausea
  • Constant headache

If preeclampsia occurs, the doctor may need to take emergency measures to deliver the baby and treat the mother. This includes an emergency cesarean section regardless of how far along in the pregnancy the mother is. Unfortunately, a number of cases involving preeclampsia result in preterm births in which the baby has an increased risk of developing serious conditions or complications. Preeclampsia can also progress to eclampsia and have devastating consequences on the mother if not properly treated.

Commonality of High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy

According to studies, high blood pressure issues occur in roughly 6-8% of all pregnancies throughout the United States. Of the cases in which high blood pressure is present, about 70% occur during first-time pregnancies. Preeclampsia was diagnosed in 146,320 cases in 1998 alone.

Managing High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

Before it becomes a problem, a plan of action must be taken by the doctor to ensure the mother and baby will be safe. While it may be best to manage high blood pressure prior to becoming pregnant, this isn’t always the case. Still, during pregnancy, women with high blood pressure problems should take the proper precautions to help prevent preeclampsia and other conditions. This may include discussing medications with your doctor as well as scheduling regular prenatal care.

If a doctor fails to respond correctly and in a timely manner to high blood pressure problems, the mother’s kidneys and other organs can be harmed. Furthermore, it can result in a low birth weight and early delivery. These can both threaten the life of the baby.

Long-Term Risks of Preeclampsia

For women who have had preeclampsia, not only do they face the immediate dangers involved, they can also suffer long-term damage. Preeclampsia can lead to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and having preeclampsia again in future pregnancies. It can also result in eclampsia, or seizures, and hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count, also known as HELLP syndrome.

HELLP syndrome occurs when the red blood cells are destroyed or damaged. This means clotting may be impaired and the liver may experience internal bleeding. It is a serious condition that should be considered an emergency as women who suffer from HELLP syndrome may die or develop long-term health issues.

Who Is Responsible?

When an issue arises involving high blood pressure during pregnancy, it is the duty of the doctor and nurses involved to properly monitor the mother and have a plan of action ready to help. If they delay in performing a delivery or in performing the plan of action, it can be considered negligence. Proper action after diagnosis of high blood pressure can give the mother and the baby the best chance at living healthy lives. When this doesn’t happen, someone should be held accountable for their action — or in this case, inaction.

Our Dallas birth injury attorneys at Aldous \ Walker understand the various complications that may arise when a mother has high blood pressure. We also know that the doctor has the duty to take care of the mother and the baby to make sure they are both safe from harm. If the mother or baby is harmed as a result of a doctor’s negligence, they may be held financially accountable for the injuries or conditions sustained.

You deserve to take legal action and seek compensation to help cover present and future medical costs, pain and suffering, and more. Our team has the tenacity, skill, and experience to take action on your behalf and hold doctors, hospitals, or nurses liable for negligence. Call today to schedule a free consultation with our firm and learn what options you may have under law. We are passionate about helping families who have been affected by negligence. Let us help you, too!

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