May 22nd is World Preeclampsia Day.
Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy that is characterized by elevated blood pressure and high protein levels in urine, causing decreased blood flow from the mother to the placenta, thus delivering less oxygen and nutrients to the baby. The condition may cause other complications for both the mother and baby, including risk of preterm birth and long-term health effects. Routine follow-up and preventive care for both mother and child, and a healthy lifestyle (such as a healthy diet, physical activity, avoiding stress) are particularly important in seeking to prevent these long-term effects. Download the Perinatal Hypertension Awareness fact sheet to learn more.
Click here to download our Perinatal Hypertension Awareness poster to hang in clinics and educate patients on the signs and symptoms.
Preeclampsia: What to Screen for and When
Knowing the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia can keep you and your baby healthy – it could even save your life! Preeclampsia is linked to preterm birth and low birth weight, as well as heart and breathing problems for babies. Mothers with preeclampsia can experience serious, even life threatening complications, and often go managing your stress can all help keep your pregnancy as healthy as possible, and are great habits to maintain after the birth of your baby as well. If you’re experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of preeclampsia, tell your health care provider right away!
Signs and Symptoms of Preeclampsia
Risk for preeclampsia can be identified by your doctor through blood tests and other screening including, medical history, blood pressure monitoring, and Doppler ultrasound as early as the end of your first trimester (11 to 14 weeks). Determining your risk factors and developing a course of action is an important part of your prenatal care. Early detection is key in keeping you and your baby healthy throughout your pregnancy and beyond!.
Complications of Preeclampsia
It isn’t just high blood pressure – it’s an emergency! Preeclampsia can have serious consequences for you and your baby. Keeping all of your prenatal appointments and following your doctor’s recommendations on lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, are key to avoiding major health issues down the road.
Preeclampsia: Did You Know?
While PRAMS* data shows that up to 8.7% of pregnant women in Montana experience pregnancy related hypertension, women with preexisting conditions such as hypertension, anxiety, being overweight and obesity have even higher rates. Keeping all of your prenatal appointments and following your doctor’s recommendations on lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, are key to decreasing your risks and avoiding major health issues down the road.
Preeclampsia: Health Disparities
While PRAMS* data shows that American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) women report a higher rate of developing pregnancy related hypertension, preeclampsia, and eclampsia, steps can be taken to help decrease the risk. It is vitally important for you to access prenatal care and prenatal education early in your pregnancy! Advocate for your health by participating in routine health screenings and managing any chronic health conditions you might have, like obesity, high blood pressure and depression. Engage in reproductive health planning to ensure chronic health conditions are under good control before your next pregnancy. To learn more about accessing low cost services visit https://www.kdheks.gov/c-f/womens.html.
For more information about Preeclampsia Awareness Day, check out: https://www.efcni.org/activities/campaigns/world-preeclampsia-day/.