MAY IS PREECLAMPSIA AWARENESS MONTH
Spread the Word: Preeclampsia Awareness Month!
This month I have been chatting to some amazing people at the Preeclampsia Foundation, discussing ways in which I can help them raise awareness. I am so proud now to be on their list of bloggers and I am so pleased to be able to kick start this with Preeclampsia Awareness Month.
This topic is so close to my heart, after suffering both Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome when I gave birth to my boys. It is so important to me that I help to make a difference in this area. This is definitely a cause I plan to fight for.
Preeclampsia Awareness Month presents the perfect opportunity for the Preeclampsia Foundation to offer education and events that will increase awareness of this life-threatening hypertensive disorder of pregnancy, which occurs in up to eight percent of all pregnancies.
The theme this year is: The Faces of Preeclampsia: Any Woman, Any Pregnancy.
Millions of families are unexpectedly affected by preeclampsia each year. Through the preeclampsia foundation, they tell their stories and highlight the many impacts that preeclampsia can have on the whole family.
How You Can Get Involved in the Faces of Preeclampsia Campaign?
- RSVP and join the May Kickoff Twitter Party #PreAM16 on May 2, 2016 at 9 pm EDT: bit.ly/PreAM16.
- Register for a Promise Walk for Preeclampsia in your community or virtually: www.promisewalk.org.
- Download and post the Preeclampsia Awareness Month banners or button on your website, blog or social media channel.
- Participate in the 31 Days of Tweets Campaign.
- Reference preeclampsia awareness content from your own website or blog.
Faces of Preeclampsia Campaign: What Are The Themes?
Throughout May, the Preeclampsia Foundation is hosting the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia in 40 cities across the America, as well as a virtual Promise Walk. Visit www.promisewalk.org for specific locations.
Promise Walks range from walks to 5K runs and may also feature guest speakers, appearances by media personalities, free blood pressure screenings, silent auctions, raffles, family activities, and memorial events.
Know the Symptoms, Spread the Word
If you experience any of the following symptoms during your pregnancy or after delivery, call your doctor or midwife right away.
Having symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have preeclampsia, but they are cause for concern and require medical evaluation. Signs of preeclampsia, which are often measured by your healthcare provider, include high blood pressure and sometimes protein in the urine. Other symptoms include:
- Swelling of the hands and face, especially around the eyes (swelling of the feet is more common in late pregnancy and probably not a sign of preeclampsia)
- Weight gain of more than five pounds in a week
- Headache that won’t go away, even after taking medication such as acetaminophen
- Changes in vision like seeing spots or flashing lights; partial or total loss of eyesight
- Nausea or throwing up, especially suddenly, after mid pregnancy (not the morning sickness that many women experience in early pregnancy)
- Upper right belly pain, sometimes mistaken for indigestion or the flu
- Difficulty breathing, gasping, or panting
It’s also important to know that some women with preeclampsia have NO symptoms or they “just don’t feel right.” If you have a sense that something’s wrong, even without symptoms, trust yourself and contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Participate in Research to Save Lives
Research efforts this past decade have produced exciting breakthroughs that may bring us closer to finding the cause of preeclampsia, help improve diagnosis / prediction, and may lead to prevention and new treatments.
Research needs far more support and funding if we hope to find the true cause of preeclampsia, as well as a way to prevent or cure it.
Part of The Preeclampsia Foundation’s mission is to catalyze and accelerate research. Through small research funding of Vision Grants, participating in trials, collaborating with investigators, and building the world’s only patient Registry, they hope to help research progress on hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
Make the Link Between Preeclampsia and Heart Disease
Women who have had preeclampsia have three to four times the risk of high blood pressure and double the risk for heart disease and stroke. They also have an increased risk of developing diabetes.
While still unknown whether the risk is caused by preeclampsia or if the woman was already predisposed, these risks first emerge in the years following a complicated pregnancy. Although this may seem daunting, ample research shows that there are many ways for women to protect their heart health and that of their families.
Preeclampsia and Maternal Mental Health
Research suggests that women who have experienced a traumatic pregnancy such as preeclampsia have four to ten times the risk of screening positive for post-traumatic stress disorder and are at an increased risk for postpartum depression and anxiety. This is certainly the case for me, as I suffered form PTSD in the years following the birth of the boys.
It is important that these voices are heard and that their experiences are understood, to help other patients through their own traumatic pregnancy experience.