Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

Major cause of maternal mortality diagnosed too late. Here’s why.

A leading cause of maternal mortality often goes unnoticed. By the time it’s diagnosed, it’s sometimes too late to stem the damage. 

Doctors typically do not identify preeclampsia, a serious form of high blood pressure developed during pregnancy, until blood pressure and urine checks are so pronounced that the condition has likely progressed, causing organ damage. When cases are detected this late, women often end up going into preterm labor, resulting in consequences for babies and mothers.

Women of color, particularly Black and Native women, are at much greater risk of having the condition due to existing health issues.

An initiative announced this week aims to detect and treat preeclampsia earlier. If preeclampsia can be curbed more women will be able to bring their babies to term. Treatment can be as simple as prescribing aspirin to reduce or prevent the condition. Researchers also hope the initiative can spur new treatments.

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