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Preeclampsia: learn about the dangerous postpartum condition

The birth of a child is supposed to be the happiest moment of the family's life, with the parents and their newborn baby leaving the hospital in good health. However, that isn't the happy ending that every birth gets. In fact, birth injuries and pregnancy complications can turn this happy moment into an absolute nightmare -- and sometimes, the doctors or hospital are to blame for these terrible medical complications.

For example, you may have heard of pregnancy-induced hypertension. This condition affects 1 in 12 women, and the symptoms are high blood pressure and swelling, among other things. It's common enough, but it's hardly ubiquitous.

There is a form of pregnancy-induced hypertension, though, that is rare and extremely dangerous. It's called preeclampsia or post-partum preeclampsia. Preeclampsia only afflicts 5.7 percent of women who get pregnancy-induced hypertension, and yet it kills 76,000 women every year. Not many people know about it -- even women who are pregnant. It makes you wonder if doctors and nurses are performing their due diligence and warning pregnant women about this potentially fatal disease.

Preeclampsia is characterized by some general symptoms, but knowing these symptoms gives women who recently gave birth a chance to spot the condition and seek medical care. As one official of the Preeclampsia Foundation in the article noted, the condition only gets "worse and worse" if you don't treat it soon. The symptoms are severe headaches, spots in vision, dizziness, nausea, weight gain, abdominal pain and reduced urine output. There are other symptoms as well, so check with your doctor if you fear you may be suffering from preeclampsia.

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

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