To raise awareness of preeclampsia as a life-threatening complication of pregnancy, maternal health organizations around the world are joining forces to host the third annual World Preeclampsia Day on Wednesday, May 22.
For the mother, complications can cause illness for an extended period of time and are strongly associated with the future development of a range of debilitating diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and renal impairment.
Additionally, the World Health Organization has highlighted that the condition has a highly disproportionate impact on low-to-middle income countries (LMIC), where over 99% of preeclampsia-related deaths occur. It is estimated that 16% of maternal deaths in LMICs are the result of preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. It is the leading cause of maternal mortality in the Americas, accounting for a quarter of all maternal deaths in Latin America, and a tenth of maternal deaths in Africa and Asia.
Too many lives are taken or seriously affected by these disorders, underscoring the importance of symptom recognition, and timely and effective response by trained healthcare workers. This is especially true in areas where access to care is reduced.
With limited understanding about the cause and preventative or effective treatments, the need for basic and clinical research to advance medical options and healthcare practices must be prioritized.
World Preeclampsia Day’s theme – “Be prepared before lightning strikes” – highlights the importance of early symptoms recognition because preeclampsia can strike quickly, without warning.
Often women are told that the “cure” for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby. While premature delivery is often necessary to save the life of the mother and the baby, delivery does not always immediately halt the effects of preeclampsia that in some cases can even present for the first time up to six weeks after delivery. It can also leave residual physical and/or mental health issues.
Women should take the following actions to monitor their pregnancies for preeclampsia and reduce risk:
The symptoms are:
We advise pregnant women to:
APEC, as the national charity for families affected by pre-eclampsia does lots to support women including