(WXYZ) — The autopsy report of three-time Olympic medalist Tori Bowie revealed the star athlete died from complications due to childbirth. She was just 32 years old and eight months pregnant when she was found deceased in her bed last month.

The autopsy report cited possible respiratory distress and eclampsia.

Bowie was a fantastic athlete and once the fastest woman in the world. To hear she died due to complications from childbirth is very disheartening.

Now the autopsy report says that Tori was in labor at the time of her death. However, the elite athlete was not intending to have a home birth, according to her agent. So, it sounds like the baby was coming early. As for the conditions that might have led to her death - respiratory distress and eclampsia – both can be very serious.

Respiratory distress indicates that her lungs were having trouble exchanging air, and there was difficulty breathing. Any complication can result in respiratory failure. However, respiratory failure is rare and affects about 0.2% of pregnancies.

As for eclampsia, this is a serious complication of another condition called preeclampsia. If you develop preeclampsia during pregnancy, that means you might have high blood pressure, excess protein in the urine, severe headaches, swelling, shortness of breath and blurred vision or light sensitivity. As for eclampsia, that’s when a person with preeclampsia develops seizures

Symptoms are shaking, confusion and disorientation. It’s very serious and requires emergency medical care as it can lead to coma, stroke or death.

Eclampsia affects less than 3% of people with preeclampsia. But studies have found that Black women in the U.S. face an elevated risk of both preeclampsia and eclampsia.

It’s quite shocking that the U.S. has more women dying during delivery or shortly after childbirth than any other developed nation. And Black women are three times more likely than white women to die from a pregnancy-related complication. As for why this might be happening, there are several reasons like discrimination, poverty and poor care. All of which are unethical and unacceptable, in my opinion.

So, what should women watch out for? Well, preeclampsia doesn’t always come with noticeable symptoms. Usually, the first signs are found during prenatal visits when blood pressure and urine levels are checked. The good news is that preeclampsia can be managed but needs careful monitoring and medications to lower blood pressure.

That’s why it’s imperative that women regularly see a health care provider. Having said that, if you’re pregnant and notice sudden weight gain or swelling in the face or hands, those are signs of preeclampsia. And if you suddenly develop severe headaches, blurred vision or severe shortness of breath, get to the emergency room as soon as possible.

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