McKnight bill requiring preeclampsia testing for certain pregnant women advances

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A bill introduced by four Democratic assemblywoman, including Angela McKnight (D-31), that would require preeclampsia testing for certain pregnant women advanced through the Assembly Women and Children Committee on Monday.

Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31). Photo via NJ Assembly Democrats.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Bill A-1073, also sponsored by Shanique Speight, Eleana Pintor Marin (both D-29), and Britnee Timberlake (D-34), would require health care facilities to administer a test for preeclampsia if the patient shows symptoms of the condition and consents to testing.

Hospitals providing inpatient maternity services, licensed birthing centers and any health care practitioners providing care to pregnant women or women who have given birth within the past month are named in the bill.

“Preeclampsia is a serious condition that can result in painful and even life-threatening side effects for women if it is not properly treated. Yet far too often, healthcare providers fail to recognize the symptoms and communicate with their patients about the risks of this frequent complication,” the four sponsors of the legislation said in a joint statement.

“We need to do better for New Jersey mothers by ensuring they receive the care they need to have a happy, healthy pregnancy. Increasing testing for this condition is an important way we can help women throughout our state.”

Nearly five percent of all pregnant women experience preeclampsia, which is a condition that can happen during pregnancy and even after childbirth. Preeclampsia raises a person’s blood pressure to dangerous levels and can pose a serious risk to both mothers and babies.

Testing for the condition would include blood tests, ultrasonography and non-stress tests to help determine the presence of preeclampsia.

If the woman tests positive, the provider would then be required to discuss the results and develop a treatment plan to help minimize health risks.

The bill now heads to Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19) for further consideration.