Birth Injuries - Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension (PIH)

Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) is also referred to as pre-eclampsia or toxemia. The condition occurs when a woman develops high blood pressure during pregnancy when there is too much pressure in the arteries the blood travels through. PIH may occur in as many as seven to 10 percent of all pregnancies, according to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. It can be dangerous to both mother and baby.


If a doctor fails to diagnose and properly treat your pregnancy-induced hypertension, this omission can be considered medical malpractice. The negligent physician could be held responsible for damages and loss caused by injuries to mother or baby. A Chicago birth injury attorney can assist parents in understanding if a doctor was negligent in failing to diagnose or treat PIH.

Who is at Risk for PIH?

Any pregnant woman could potentially develop PIH. However, certain women are at greater risk than others. For example, a woman is more likely to develop pregnancy-induced hypertension if she:

  • Is under 20 or over 35
  • Has a history of high blood pressure
  • Had PIH in a prior pregnancy or one of her female relatives had PIH
  • Is overweight or underweight
  • Had diabetes prior to pregnancy
  • Has a disorder of the immune system
  • Uses or has a history of using alcohol, drugs or tobacco
  • Is pregnant with twins or triplets.

The specific causes of PIH are unknown. Still, it is important that doctors monitor for symptoms to prevent harm to the mom or baby.

Symptoms of Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension

There are a number of different symptoms of PIH, including:

  • Sudden weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated protein levels in the urine
  • Excess swelling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Severe headaches
  • Blood in the urine
  • Excessive nausea or vomiting.

When you experience symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor immediately. Your doctor should also monitor your blood pressure and protein levels, especially if you are at a high risk of developing PIH.

Medical Malpractice and Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension

If your doctor fails to recognize pregnancy-induced hypertension or provides insufficient prenatal care that results in your condition going undiagnosed, your doctor may be liable for medical malpractice. This can occur in any situation where a reasonable doctor would have identified and properly treated your condition and where your doctor failed to either identify or treat it.

For example, your doctor could be liable for malpractice if the doctor failed to:

  • Recognize the symptoms of PIH
  • Perform appropriate follow-up testing when you exhibited symptoms
  • Provide monitoring and treatment once you were diagnosed with PIH.

PIH is typically diagnosed as a result of a doctor’s noticing symptoms during routine prenatal visits, such as elevated protein levels in the urine. If PIH is suspected, an ultrasound may be performed or you may be asked to monitor signs of fetal movement.

The Consequences of Medical Malpractice Involving PIH

Most mild cases of PIH can be treated easily at home with bed rest, eating the proper diet and consuming sufficient fluids. However, in severe cases, immediate admission to the hospital and close monitoring is required. Your high blood pressure may be treated with medication and your doctor may prescribe magnesium.

If PIH is not properly treated, serious complications could develop, including:

  • Placental abruption (detachment of the placenta from the uterus wall)
  • Maternal seizures
  • Kidney failure

Both the life of the mother and the life of the baby can be put at risk as a result of medical malpractice involving pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Contact Our Chicago Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension Attorneys

If your doctor failed to diagnose or treat your PIH, your doctor may be liable for negligently failing in his duty to care for you and your baby. A Chicago pregnancy-induced hypertension lawyer can provide you with assistance in determining if you have a claim against your doctor and in pursuing the claim.

At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we focus on birth injury cases and representing families impacted by PIH.

To learn how our Illinois pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) lawyers can help you, give us a call today at our toll-free number or complete our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

You will not pay for our legal services unless we obtain compensation for you and your family. Be aware of the statute of limitations for birth injury lawsuits.