Findings from several studies support the hypothesis that stress caused by a traumatic pregnancy and delivery can often override the ability to emotionally cope, leading to psychiatric complications such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and post-partum depression (PPD). The combination of suffering a serious illness, combined with an unexpected caesarean section, birth of a premature child, or infant loss, is a heavy burden to bear both physically and psychologically.
Preliminary research findings, including a study initiated by the Preeclampsia Foundation, suggest that women who have endured traumatic pregnancies such as severe preeclampsia, eclampsia and HELLP syndrome have a higher incidence of PTSD and PPD than women without these complications. More research is needed to help move this information to clinical practice, but anecdotally enough of our survivors are impacted, that we offer these recommendations based on general trauma recovery practices.
May and Mother's Day are so intertwined that it's hard to think about one without the other, especially here at the Preeclampsia Foundation, where we've built a nationwide campaign at www.promisewalk.org/campaign to get the word out about preeclampsia - the "thing" that for many survivors turned our entrance into motherhood into a nightmare.
I believe celebrating mothers is a commemoration of extremes. Not just because preeclampsia is an extreme condition, but because the mothers I am ...
What was your experience with preeclampsia? I developed a life-threatening case of severe preeclampsia in 2002. My daughter was delivered by emergency C-section 2 ½ months early weighing 3 pounds and measuring 14 inches long. In my case, delivery did not relieve my symptoms and I spent time in the ICU with a pulmonary artery catheter in my neck, unable to see or hold my daughter for her first days of life. Even with extremely high blood pressure, incredible headaches and pulmonary edema, my doctors released me on two separate occasions. Each time I had to be re-admitted within hours, with slurred speech, vision problems, and tingling in limbs. In total, I remained in the hospital on magnesium sulfate for about three weeks as the preeclampsia continued postpartum. My daughter came home after 30 days in the NICU.
How aware were you about pre-e before/during your pregnancy? I was not familiar with preeclampsia other than maybe a brief ...
Posted in Heard on the Hill on April 04, 2012 by Administrator
During the week of March 26, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments about the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as the Health Reform Law. As the Preeclampsia Foundation continues to advocate before state and federal policymakers on maternal health issues, we are watching closely to understand what affect the Court's decision(s) will have on women and their families.
The following is an overview of the key questions being considered by the Court after three days of debate - the longest hearing on a single case heard by the Supreme Court since 1966.
Should the law even be considered by the Court at this time - the Anti-Injunction Act? The court must determine whether the case can be decided now, or whether the court must wait until 2015, when the tax provisions of the law (individual mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance) go into effect. ...
Posted in Research on April 04, 2012 by Administrator
At the Society for Gynecologic Investigation (SGI) Annual Scientific Meeting in San Diego, Calif., in March, the Preeclampsia Foundation, in collaboration with lead authors Dr. Ineke Postma, Dr. Gerda Zeeman, Dr H. Groen of the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands, and Dr. Thomas Easterling of the University of Washington, presented a poster on cognition, quality of life and social functioning after a hypertensive pregnancy. Many formerly preeclamptic women report difficulties with memory or word choice postpartum, but so do many women with normal pregnancy courses. The unanswered question: what is the likelihood that preeclampsia causes brain changes independent of pregnancy itself? If there are preeclampsia-specific changes, can those be separated from the trauma of a medical crisis?
Enrolling more than 1,000 participants in this study, the Preeclampsia Foundation's survey queried women with (cases) and without (controls) a history of hypertension in ...
The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia means something unique to each participant across the country... but this year for one young preeclampsia survivor, it means getting to see her artwork impact thousands!
Mya Detweiler, age 10, and her mother Dawn are no strangers to the Preeclampsia Foundation, or the Promise Walk. After experiencing severe preeclampsia and a harrowing premature delivery, Dawn turned her passion for the cause into action as a lead volunteer for the Foundation, including coordinating her own local Pennsylvania Promise Walk since the inaugural walks in 2005.
"Since she was little, Mya's been helping me stuff goodie bags and hand out ...
The October 2011 issue of Expectations (featuring patient-centered care month) highlighted two powerful, silver-screen accounts of parents confronted with the unthinkable: a child's health crisis with no known cure leading doctors to tell them "there is nothing more we can do." Those simple words - and the prospect that there was no hope - prompted these every-day parents to take on the most important "projects" of their lives: saving the lives of their children.
These extreme examples of patient advocacy provide a humbling reminder of how important our own voices - and understanding of our conditions - are in our individual health care (during pregnancy and otherwise).
In thinking about patient advocacy in relation to my own pregnancy, I am ashamed I didn't ask more questions when I was ordered to take my first (and then second!) 24-hour urine test. I didn't know that a 24-hour urine test wasn't routine, and my doctor was certainly not offering up any ...
What was your experience with preeclampsia?
In my first pregnancy I wasn't worried about PE at all; everything was going smoothly until 31 weeks when, at our last childbirth class on a tour of the hospital's Labor & Delivery (L&D) ward, I started having painful contractions. We ended up calling my OB from the hospital parking lot and she told us to go back up to L&D where they hooked me up and determined - yes - these were real contractions & I was starting to dilate. Many hours of monitoring and couple shots of terbulaline later they sent me home. I ended up at my 37 week appointment, being sent over to L&D for an induction because of preeclampsia.
How aware were you about preeclampsia before/during your pregnancy?
I'd never really heard of preeclampsia before my first pregnancy. During my pregnancy as I started having high BP sometime around 34 weeks it got mentioned and I knew there were some ...
In the words of 17th century English poet John Donne, "No man is an island"... and in the world of fundraising, this is doubly true. The incredible success of the Promise Walks each year is due in no small part to the ability of local walk coordinators and participants to gather their friends and families together and spread the infectious hope for the future that is at the fundamental core of the Promise Walk.
But how does a walk move from helping the Foundation fund a single local education campaign (around $2,000) all the way to funding an entire Vision Research Grant ($25,000)? The answer is the passion and drive of team work! So if you haven't already, start a team and read the following tips on making a big difference:
1) Have a Plan. Set a reasonable goal and make a list of people who would potentially support your efforts. For instance,
What do pink hair, a tattoo and a Bat Mitzvah have in common?
No, not the latest reality show teaser!
They are examples of the creative and unconventional genius of preeclampsia survivors around the country who are turning their life experiences into stories of hope and promise for others. I'm constantly amazed and inspired by the originality of our families!
First time Promise Walk coordinator Laura Morrison in Oklahoma City has embraced her calling to raise preeclampsia awareness in Oklahoma's capital city, where almost 4,000 women will get preeclampsia in 2012. To do this, Laura vowed that if their team achieves their fundraising goal of $10,000 she's going to dye her hair pink. For this grandmother and Logistics Management specialist ...
Posted in Research on March 01, 2012 by Caryn
Is there a nutritional connection to preeclampsia? That idea seems plausible at first, as when the blood samples of women have been analyzed, some researchers have found altered levels of various vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, preeclamptic women have altered patterns of weight gain during pregnancy; and obese women are more likely to develop preeclampsia.
Such considerations may lead one to speculate that certain diets may prevent or reverse the disease, in which case the appropriate diet becomes a therapeutic intervention. However the best research to date suggests this just isn't so.
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on February 06, 2012 by Administrator
For Dallas-area volunteer Nicole Purnell, fundraising for the Preeclampsia Foundation is nothing new: she is currently in her fourth year as the Dallas-Ft. Worth Promise Walk Coordinator. So when she and her family decided to do another fundraiser for the Foundation, they decided to try something entirely different, and catered to their home state of Texas: a clay-shooting tournament to be held March 10.
"Of course, I realize that shooting clays is not an activity for everyone's taste, but this IS Texas after all!" explained Purnell. In organizing the event, she and her stepfather, who is co-hosting the tournament, realized that this would be a unique opportunity to pull in a different crowd than that of the Promise Walks for fundraising and awareness.
"My stepdad is a retired Navy SEAL and has many friends who enjoy clay shooting," Purnell said. "I had been wanting to do a clay shoot event for some time, and then, one day I got my daily Groupon ...
You can't trip through February without noticing that heart health organizations everywhere are using the month to raise awareness about women's heart disease. For preeclampsia survivors, this message comes with an important footnote - your pregnancy history matters to your long term health and especially your risk for heart disease. Last year, the American Heart Association updated their guidelines to draw attention to the fact that women with a history of preeclampsia are at higher risk for heart disease, some studies have equated our risk to that of a smoker. You can read more about this research on our Community Forum.
While some of us may shake our fists ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on February 04, 2012 by Administrator
Perinatal Outreach Educator Networks (POENs) are generally funded by individual states to provide perinatal (the care offered to a mother and child just before and just after birth) medical education to health care providers in the region, enhancing the quality of care for mothers and infants and reducing morbidity and mortality. Specialists share their experience and knowledge with other physicians and community hospitals across regions by offering or facilitating programs such as physician and nurse consultation services, continuing education for health care professionals, emergency medical transport for referring hospitals within the region, consultation and technical assistance on emerging perinatal issues, and sometimes even lending libraries.
For example, in Illinois, there are 10 perinatal centers designated by the state. Rush Hospital in Chicago is home to the the largest network, involving 18 hospitals delivering more than 30,000 infants. The Rush Perinatal ...
Our seventh annual Saving Grace dinner gala fundraiser took place in Manhattan on the evening of Saturday, November 12. It was simply a wonderful evening, replete with raw emotion, inspirational stories, hope and gratitude. Together with The Foundation for America's Blood Centers, another worthy charity dedicated to saving the lives of mothers and babies, we reached a broad and extremely engaged audience of almost 500 guests. With the support of so many individuals and our event sponsors - Johnson & Johnson, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Merck, Abbott and many others - we grossed nearly $550,000 to support the vital missions of our organizations!
Our theme this ...
Posted in Research on December 04, 2011 by Caryn
Currently there's no way to know for certain whether preeclampsia will develop during any given pregnancy. This leaves pregnant women and their care providers with little choice but to wait for symptoms to appear... dangerous symptoms that mean the disease has progressed to the point where mother and baby are critically ill and will need intensive monitoring and carefully timed delivery to protect their health and lives. The only screening method to date is to measure those symptoms when they appear.
Early detection wouldn't be a treatment. But what if a screening test could let us know, weeks or even months in advance, that we'd probably be getting ill? Knowing might change the way we seek care - possibly choosing specialist care providers with the education and experience to manage medically complicated pregnancies. Women in parts of the world (like
Some of the most important participants at the Promise Walks for Preeclampsia are healthcare providers who come out to support the Foundation. Many are community physicians and nurses who treat preeclampsia on a regular basis. The Promise Walk is an annual event held in numerous cities that allows the preeclampsia community to come together and mourn their losses, celebrate their hopes, and work together toward the common goal of raising money to fund research and create awareness.
Many Promise Walks invite healthcare providers to speak about their own professional experience with preeclampsia. That provider brings their own professional validation to the need for awareness and research, while giving attendees hope, knowing that there are medical professionals working diligently to solve the "preeclampsia puzzle."
So what causes these health care providers to be so passionate for the preeclampsia cause and to join our efforts at the Promise Walks? To provide ...
What an amazing whirlwind of a weekend we had in New York City! You'll hear more from our Saving Grace co-chair Patrick Dignan in next month's newsletter, but for now let me just say "Wow! New York really rolled out the red carpet for the Preeclampsia Foundation." Here are a few headlines from the events of Saturday, November 12.
During the day we were honored to co-host a post-graduate course at Weill Cornell Medical College with experts from Yale, Harvard, NYU, University of Washington, Columbia and Cornell, along with always stimulating Dr. Baha Sibai, plus yours truly delivering a session on patient-provider communications. Over 70 attendees comprising ...
As a woman, you may feel that you are expected to do it all: career, family, community responsibilities. A high-risk pregnancy can make those responsibilities seem especially magnified as you try to square everything away before taking maternity leave or while on bed rest. For women facing a high-risk pregnancy (whether because of a previous preeclampsia experience or for other concerns) and caught up in the "Super Woman" mentality, you can lose sight of your own needs, goals, and most of all health. It can be challenging to make time to take care of you, a fact to which many preeclampsia survivors who missed the warning signs will attest. The day can slip away without taking a break to assess your physical and mental well-being. Nevertheless, for a patient who may face potential pregnancy complications, focusing on your care should be paramount!
Posted in Heard on the Hill on October 05, 2011 by Administrator
The Foundation is closely tracking and providing perspective to Congressional efforts related to maternal and neonatal health and well-being, especially as they may impact preeclampsia awareness and related care. Two pieces of legislation of interest are the PREEMIE (Prematurity Research Expansion and Education) Reauthorization Act and the Birth Defects Prevention, Risk Reduction and Awareness Act.
The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act, sponsored by Reps. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), would expand research, education and intervention activities as they relate to preterm birth. The legislation will also work to promote the use of evidence-based standards of care for pregnant women. The original PREEMIE Act was signed into law in December 2006, and the programs supported through the law at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies and subsequent resources provided to ...