During pregnancy, high blood pressure is often linked with other complications, such as preeclampsia, eclampsia, placental abruption, and stroke. Some women even need their doctors to induce labor to deliver their child because of hypertension. However, high blood pressure ranges from mild to severe, and the treatment approach varies. A recent study, the results of which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, explored the treatment of mild but consistent hypertension in pregnancy. The researchers sought to test whether the treatment of mild hypertension (160/100) can help to decrease the likelihood of pregnancy and birth complications, while keeping the fetus healthy. As a result of the investigation, researchers found that the benefits of treatment for mild chronic high blood pressure in pregnancy are better outcomes and fewer complications for mothers and their babies.
About the Study
To conduct the study, researchers medicated a portion of the 2,408 study participants, women up to 23 weeks pregnant, with pregnancy-safe medications to relieve them of hypertension, lowering the rate to 140/90. All participants had singleton pregnancies and chronic, mild hypertension. Study officials gave some subjects the medication but not others, unless they had severe hypertension. Severe hypertension refers to systolic pressure at or above 160 mm Hg or diastolic pressure at or above 105 mm Hg. Diastolic blood pressure refers to the artery pressure between heartbeats. Systolic blood pressure is just the opposite, the measure of the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. Those taking hypertension medication were the active test subjects, while the rest were the control group.
The study focused on the mixed results of hypertension complications. Some pregnant women develop severe preeclampsia, while others deliver premature babies (before 35 weeks). Still, others suffer a placental abruption. In the worst outcomes, other soon-to-be moms lose the fetus or newborn. Preeclampsia typically results after 20 weeks of gestation and produces chronic high blood pressure. The condition can lead to low-weight babies, premature delivery, placental abruption, HELPP syndrome, eclampsia, cardiovascular disease, and organ damage. In some cases, the mother and baby have severe complications accompanying preeclampsia, lower than normal birth weight, and prematurity. Clinical treatment includes blood pressure-lowering medications safe for pregnancy.
The study results found that those who took the high blood pressure medication fared slightly better in all test categories. The critical outcomes that were studied included: preeclampsia, low birth weight babies, maternal complications, prematurity, and newborn complications. The percentage differentials were less than 1% in all categories but the incidence of preeclampsia and premature birth. The latter two categories yielded a more significant difference between the active and control groups, with the medicated group producing better outcomes. In fact, those participants who received treatment were nearly 20% less likely to suffer from severe forms of preeclampsia and premature birth.
The study’s outcome promises hope for those afflicted with hypertension and preeclampsia complications, motivating decisions to treat pregnant women with mild hypertension in an effort to avoid some of the worst effects of the condition. With this in mind, medical professionals can modify existing practices as it relates to mild but chronic high blood pressure in pregnancy considering the reduced incidence of complications for expectant mothers and their children. As with many other pregnancy complications and conditions, preventive measures and precautionary approaches are encouraging steps forward.
Failing to Avoid Complications can be Costly for both Lives Involved
In reality, the financial and emotional costs of treating a baby with birth complications and raising a child with potential life-long complications are enormous. Often, newborns with birth-related injuries may need lengthy treatment in hospitals, medical offices, and home care, depending on the severity of their condition. Some babies overcome temporary setbacks while others require long-term medical attention, maybe even for life. They may suffer intellectual and physical delays that require mechanical and human assistance. They may need adaptive tools and medical devices to help them eat and breathe, perhaps for the rest of their lives. They may need constant care.
Likewise, mothers temporarily or permanently injured from hypertension complications may need continuing assistance. Seizures or strokes can leave a person paralyzed, the extent of which depends on the area of the brain affected. Further, organ damage can result in a range of conditions, from frequent urination to open heart surgery for repairs. They may need kidney or liver transplants or blood transfusions from profuse bleeding caused by placental abruption. A mother could lose their baby when the placenta detaches from the uterus, or she could suffer anemia from blood loss, leaving her unable to care for her newborn. Many complications from hypertension can leave a mother’s body ravaged with pain and disfigurement at a critical time when her baby needs her most.
Undoubtedly, doctors must be trained, experienced, highly attentive, and decisive in order to protect the delicate lives that depend on them. Labor and delivery require a physician to balance the needs of mother and child, deciding in each moment how to proceed. This means urgently recognizing and responding to any potential signs of maternal or fetal complications, and in some cases, which distress signal takes priority. Although their medical training and experience informs their decisions and actions, sometimes they make poor decisions that leave moms and babies injured.
Miscalculations and negligent omissions may result from many causes. However, the damage from some conditions and complications may be preventable. Those medical birth professionals who fail to take preventative measures may endanger the lives of their pregnant patients and their families. Fortunately, if a healthcare provider caused you or your baby injury, you have legal remedies.
Call Today for a Free Legal Consultation
When birth healthcare workers are negligent, they may be held legally and financially responsible for the harm they cause. You may not know how to get compensation for your or your baby’s injuries due to the negligent handling of your pregnancy or delivery. You may not be in the best mindset to make a legal claim for what someone owes you, and you don’t have to. Our birth and pregnancy injury attorneys can provide the answers to your questions regarding what your rights are by law, what you need to know, and what to do to pursue compensation from those liable in your case. We passionately work on behalf of moms, babies, and their loved ones to recover damages via verdicts and settlements in claims against negligent doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers.
You and your family deserve to be compensated for your past and future medical losses, including the short and long-term financial costs of treatment and therapy. A settlement or jury verdict also includes your past and future lost income due to your child’s or your injuries. In addition, a successful outcome seeks to compensate you or your baby for pain and suffering, both psychological and physical. In essence, you may have more options for a better life for you and your child than you know.
If you believe that a medical professional might have avoided or mitigated pregnancy or labor complications, had they treated your hypertension, call 866-708-8617 now. Our team will provide you with a free legal consultation and explain how we may be able to help ease the financial and emotional burden you bear due to another’s careless actions.