According to a study in the February issue of Anesthesiology, 1 in every 15,000 pregnant women will develop a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) during the pregnancy. A subarachnoid hemorrhage is when there is bleeding in between the brain and the thin membrane that covers the brain. You can read more about subarachnoid hemorrhages on the PubMed Health website.
Researchers found that women with high blood pressure during pregnancy are at high risk of developing SAH. High blood pressure during pregnancy can also be called pre-eclampsia. Brian Bateman, M.D. of Massachusetts General Hospital, the lead researcher, indicated that, "When a pregnant patient or new mother has a severe SAH, it’s a particularly tragic event. Despite this, relatively little is known about the causes of SAH during pregnancy and how that differs from the causes of SAH outside of pregnancy.”
Researchers have made considerable progress in trying to determine the ways in which a subarachnoid hemorrhage takes place, defining the risk factors, and understanding the prevalence of subarachnoid bleeding in pregnant women. What they found out so far is that pregnant women with hypertension or high blood pressure increased the risk of SAH by seven times and 40% of pregnant women with a SAH, had hypertension during pregnancy. This finding shows the need to properly monitor and manage blood pressure during pregnancy. It was also noted that age increased the risk of developing SAH in pregnant women. Women who were under the age of 25 had a 3.6 per 100,000 occurrence of SAH during pregnancy, while women in between the ages of 35-44 had a 11.3 per 100,000 incident rate of SAH during pregnancy.
Dr. Bateman feels that, “understanding the risk factors that predispose pregnant patients to SAH, the clinical presentation, and the distinction from more benign forms of headache may help clinicians identify these patients so that appropriate work-up and therapy can be performed.”
What this study shows is that even though all the risk factors or causes of SAH during pregnancy are not yet known, there still is a risk of developing a cranial bleed during pregnancy, especially if the mother has high blood pressure while pregnant. Maternal hypertension or pre-eclampsia can sneak up on a pregnant woman at any time and that is why it is so important to monitor, diagnose, and treat any woman who develops high blood pressure during pregnancy. Not only can maternal hypertension or pre-eclampsia be harmful to the mother, it can also cause a decrease in the amount of blood or oxygen a baby may receive, causing brain damage or hypoxia in a newborn. If the injury to the baby's brain is significant, it can lead to developmental delays or cerebral palsy.
If you or your baby was injured due to untreated hypertension during your pregnancy or a SAH, please feel free to contact one of our experienced Philadelphia pregnancy complication lawyers, doctors or nurses at (215) 866-2424 for a confidential and free consultation. To date, we have had over $2 billion awarded to help our injured clients. Our specialized medical teams of attorneys, physicians and mother-baby nurses are here to help you.