You hear those two dreaded words from your healthcare provider's mouth: “bed rest”. You may feel like you’ve just been sentenced to solitary confinement, or maybe it feels like a long-desired vacation from the grind of daily life?
Whichever way you may see it, the idea of spending days on end out of your normal routine can quickly turn frustrating and take a large emotional and psychological toll on you and your family.
But fear not! Preeclampsia, while potentially serious, will not last forever, and the bed rest which may be prescribed to you is ultimately for the benefit and health of you and your unborn child.
Here are some survival tips:
Tip 1: Get your head on straight. Preeclampsia is particularly difficult to manage because you may not feel sick. Lying in bed when you feel fine seems contradictory, but what’s going on inside your body is serious and requires you to follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. ...
Posted in Heard on the Hill on February 28, 2011 by Administrator
Creating a strong advocacy voice for preeclampsia in the halls of Congress and within the federal agencies is a multi-step process. Great strides were made in February toward achieving this goal.
Early each calendar year, congressional offices allow organizations to submit to them spending requests and directive language in relation to federal programs that addresses the following fiscal spending year. The congressional offices then review the requests and set their priorities. The Foundation through its advocacy efforts and work with an outside government relations firm is working to cultivate strong relationships with federal lawmakers to advance preeclampsia research and programs. The Foundation's DC representatives worked with Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California), a champion on women's health issues and a representative with strong interest in preeclampsia research. At the Foundation's urging, the congresswoman has agreed to submit congressional language ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on February 28, 2011 by Administrator
(1) What was your experience with preeclampsia?
I was a young, first time mother with my son who was due June 20, 2008. My pregnancy was rather boring until around 22 weeks. I began having these horrible headaches and saw glitter in the sky. I thought these were regular pregnancy symptoms and thought nothing of it. I figured I could wait for my next doctor’s appointment in 2½ weeks. The headaches got worse and I began swelling in my hands, feet, and face. By 23 weeks, I had already gained 35 lbs. At 24 weeks and 3 days, my mother decided to take my blood pressure. It was through the roof and we immediately called my doctor. She sent me to L&D where I was monitored overnight. The next morning, my doctor said I had hypertension and sent me home on strict bed rest. Three days later, I was worse and went back to the hospital. They told me I may have severe preeclampsia ...
Posted in Health Information on February 28, 2011 by Administrator
In an unprecedented move, the American Heart Association (AHA) updated its cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines for women last month to recognize preeclampsia and other pregnancy complications as risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD), such as heart attack and stroke.
According to the AHA's press release: "[W]omen with a history of preeclampsia face double the risk of stroke, heart disease and dangerous clotting in veins during the five to 15 years after pregnancy. Essentially, having pregnancy complications can now be considered equivalent to ...
Posted in Research on February 25, 2011 by Caryn
When preeclampsia studies are reported in the news, there’s rarely enough background to evaluate, from the news article alone, how important the research is, or how strong the findings are, or how likely they are to lead to some sort of improvement in care or treatment of preeclampsia. That’s just a consequence of the way news reporting happens these days; preeclampsia is hard to explain, column inches are scarce, and science reporting divisions have largely been cut from media staff.
Really, when a new bit of research is published in the media, it’s an announcement that some new research was published and then put into an attention-getting wrapper. And that’s all. The way science is handled in the media has become so predictable that it’s been the subject of parody lately.
So it’s best ...
Over 500,000 infants are lost worldwide as a result of their mothers having a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy. Artist Susannah Pabot, a two-time preeclampsia survivor, has decided to transform some of the continued sadness and sense of helplessness she shares with so many other survivors into a creative project: a written word and public art installment to commemorate the loss of life due to preeclampsia and raise awareness of the disease within the wider public.
Her planned project is to install a sea of fifty small, simply-designed, identical cradles on a grassy area, each commemorating a particular infant lost to preeclampsia or HELLP. The cradles will stand empty of babies, but they will not be empty of words: of love, longing and memories. When the viewer steps closer, s/he will find inside each cradle words commemorating the brief life of a lost infant, words shared by families with the artist and woven into a creative text.
The installation will be ...
Posted in Heard on the Hill on February 03, 2011 by Administrator
Policy advocacy at the federal, state or local level can be an effective way to impact the "problem" of preeclampsia in the U.S. Public awareness, research funding levels, drug development and many more issues all vie for our attention, and for the attention of the leaders and influencers who can do something about it. Please help us set our advocacy agenda by taking a brief survey by Feb. 15. The survey asks you to weigh in on what you think our advocacy priorities should be, how you can get involved, types of actions you can take (from e-mailing to meeting with elected officials and their staff), and your preferred methods of communication. Your answers are very important to us and will take less than 10 minutes to provide.
Visit our advocacy page to learn more about how you can let your elected officials ...
The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia has made leaps and bounds in pinning the map with walk locations, recruiting volunteers and raising awareness since it was established in 2005. Today tens of thousands of people and businesses are exposed to the imagery and messaging of the Promise Walks. Media coverage, banners, flyers and posters will deliver the message to almost two dozen cities this year.
The Foundation seeks national sponsors that share a passion and commitment to women and their families: a sponsorship which affords businesses and organizations the opportunity to align themselves with an vital health cause that impacts mothers, babies and young families. Who could argue with the PR value and marketing potential of this demographic?
The immediate benefit to a sponsor includes advertising on 10,000 shirts, media coverage, verbal and printed recognition at all our events, and more. See our
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on February 03, 2011 by Administrator
A new Community Forum section called "Writing Heals" encourages survivors to share original poems, songs, short stories and quotes dedicated to their unique experiences. The goal of the forum is to provide a space to promote healing through shared expression. On a quarterly basis, we will feature a piece in our newsletter along with a brief interview with the author.
Writing has been proven to yield measurable improvements in psychological and physical health. When we write, we must slow down our thought processes and organize our thoughts. This process promotes self-awareness and understanding. As we write about a stressful event or trauma like a preeclamptic pregnancy, it helps us understand the event as well as how and why we may have felt certain emotions, an important part of the grief journey. Survivors have reported feeling relieved and beginning to heal through writing. If you already have a ...
Who can stay "heart healthy" when they're trapped inside looking at a blanket of snow? Hey, unplug the snow blower and get out your shovel... or better yet, grab a sled and revel in it! In all seriousness, we wish our friends across the preeclampsia universe warm cups of hot cocoa. And for those in the warmer climes, yours truly included, there will be no boasting about too much sunshine!
Thanks to St. Valentine's Day, February has been embued with images of hearts and emotions. The women's heart movement has adopted the month and we would be wise to pay heed to those healthy heart messages. After all, preeclampsia survivors - particularly repeat offenders - have double the risk of developing heart disease in the next 5 to 15 years of our lives. If your physician hasn't asked you about your pregnancy history, make sure you let her or him know all about your pregnancies - the good, the bad and the ugly. It ...
February Volunteer Profile
Kim Timer, Volunteer Beat Editor
What was your experience with preeclampsia?
I had a normal, routine pregnancy with my son, who was due March 28, 2007, up until week 31. At that time, I had gone to my normal doctor’s appointment and they told me I had gained over 10 pounds in a week and told me my blood pressure was elevated, but after stabilizing my blood pressure at the hospital, I was sent home. The night of February 4, 2007, I was experiencing what I thought to be gas pains but I was able to get to sleep. The morning of February 5, 2007, I woke up bleeding and my husband rushed me to the hospital. My son, Liam, was born at 32 weeks and taken to the NICU. Between the abruption and the preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome I would later discover I ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on January 31, 2011 by Administrator
Preeclampsia survivors make a difference every day. For some, that difference is finishing a marathon; for others, it's an opportunity to use special talents to develop a new awareness project.
Our new Southwest Regional Coordinator Nicole Purnell has volunteered for many years to raise awareness and funds as a tribute to her son who did not survive a severe case of preeclampsia. These efforts have grown into a Meet-and-Greet event on February 26 in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, which will offer a point-of-entry for organizing Foundation supporters to brainstorm on future local events. For more information on this gathering, please contact Nicole directly.
For the Warner family, it was the loss of their 25 year old daughter Shelly to postpartum HELLP syndrome that inspires their annual work. They are passionate supporters who, along with their extended family and friends, host an annual Taco-and-Trivia Night in Iowa to be held on February 26, with all proceeds ...
Lauren Larsen thought she had a wonderful life: loving marriage, good friends, successful career and her first child on the way. Shortly after entering the ninth month of her pregnancy, Lauren's life took a perilous turn due to the rapid onset of preeclampsia. After more than a month in intensive care and years of recovery work ahead of her, Lauren emerged from her trials with the desire to build a life full of purpose and meaning. Zuzu's Petals: A True Story of Second Chances is Lauren's real-life memoir of her personal battle with preeclampsia and her drive to make her "second chance at life" count for more than the average person.
2010 Saving Grace co-chair Autumn Spear described Zuzu's Petals as one of the best books she has ever read. "Obviously I have a personal connection to the book having shared severe preeclampsia, ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on January 11, 2011 by Administrator
Being up at 4 in the morning is no easy feat. But running 13.1 miles at 4 am? Anyone who has ever run a half or full marathon will tell you straight away that they are completely insane.
Like many preeclampsia survivors, member Laura Dale's harrowing experience with preeclampsia left her with the desire to make a change, to reaffirm her presence in the universe. Laura and her husband, Will, made the decision to run the annual Walt Disney World half-marathon. During the long process of training, she heard the story of Joan Donnelly, a loving wife and mother of three from Orlando, Fla., who lost her life to post-partum eclampsia late last year. Touched by the overwhelming, devastating sense of loss felt by her family and friends, Laura decided to run in Joan's honor.
Laura finished the half-marathon in 3 hours, 20 minutes and 43 ...
Posted in Health Information on January 02, 2011 by Administrator
Though the 2009-2010 flu season has come and gone, worries about the upcoming flu season and its potential effect on pregnant women have not abated. With the support of educational campaigns through the Center for Disease Control, the general population was made aware of the potentially fatal H1N1 virus and identifying increased risk of serious complications. The disease had a particularly devastating effect on pregnant women. As of April 2010, 28 out of 700 reported cases in pregnant women resulted in a fatality, meaning one death out of every 25 women with H1N1. Because of this alarming mortality rate and to prevent further adverse outcomes, the medical world strove to increase the reach of patient education and awareness campaigns.
In October 2009, the Preeclampsia Foundation prepared a study to measure the effectiveness of these educational campaigns, as well ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on January 02, 2011 by Administrator
Volunteer Profile- January 2011
Nicole Purnell, Southwest Regional Coordinator
What was your experience with preeclampsia?
My pregnancy seemed rather normal and uneventful to me until I reached 33 weeks. My blood pressure had been creeping upward, but I wasn't concerned about it. I had a terrible cold and was taking meds that raised my blood pressure even further and that was when I was put on bedrest. At 34+5 weeks, I woke up in the middle of the night not feeling right. My husband took me to L&D just to be safe. Or so we thought. Once we got there and were checked in, the nurses started hooking me up to all the monitors. The monitors were silent and they were not able to find a heartbeat. When the epidural was place, I crashed. I remember my OB slapping me on the ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on December 12, 2010 by Administrator
Volunteer Profile - December 2010
Becky Sloan, National Promise Walk for Preeclampsia Director
What was your experience with preeclampsia?
I began experiencing face and body swelling and headaches at 22 weeks. These symptoms, along with extreme weight gain, bouts of high blood pressure, and lower fetal movement, continued until 31 weeks. My doctor was never concerned with my symptoms and told me that ‘if I didn’t stop gaining weight, I would gain 70 lbs. before the pregnancy was over.’ I didn’t make it out of the office before I burst into tears. I felt awful, like no one cared, and I still had no idea what preeclampsia was because the signs and symptoms were never mentioned to me. I was never diagnosed with anything more than ‘being a first time worried mom,’ and at 31 weeks, 6 days I went into code blue eclamptic seizures. I actually had a doctor’s appointment earlier in the ...
The end of the year always brings with it the joys and blessings (and sometimes challenges) of the holiday season, the nostalgia of closing out another year, and the enthusiasm of looking forward to a new year of anticipated goals. For the Preeclampsia Foundation, as we close out 2010, we close the door on our first decade as THE patient advocacy organization fighting to end the devastating impact of preeclampsia. It has been a very full ten years, beginning with the tumultuous first steps of any start-up organization and moving into the more recent years of growth and success. Last month, we published “Preeclampsia: A Decade of Perspective | Building a Global Call to Action”. This 40-page publication captured our milestones as we celebrated our 10th anniversary, reported on the state of preeclampsia, and suggested a call-to-action for ...
At the recent Saving Grace – A Night of Hope event in Seattle, Washington, many individuals graciously purchased auction items or made personal donations. Many guests also provided us with their employer’s Matching Donor Forms. It is impressive that some of our donors had already researched their employers’ policies and had discovered this golden opportunity – the Employer Matching Gift Program.
An Employer Matching Gift Program is one where an employer matches an employee’s charitable donation, usually dollar for dollar. Some companies call this a Cash Grants Program or a Matching Grants Program. These Gift Programs can quickly multiply the impact of one employee’s donation, often quite substantially. In some cases an employer may even match up to 2 or 3 times that of the employee’s donation. But even a 1:1 match is incredibly impacting. Along with matching monetary donations, some employers even have programs wherein the company will ...
Posted in Heard on the Hill on December 07, 2010 by Administrator
• Children’s Act of 2010 (S. 3968) – Status: Introduced. Sponsor(s): Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT). Establishes a National Council on Children, with the purpose of improving preventive services and enhancing the well-being of young people. Reducing infant mortality and the number of babies born at a low birth weight as an objective.
Sens. Alexander, Dodd Mark National Prematurity Awareness Day
• On November 17, National Prematurity Awareness Day, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) spoke on the Senate floor to mark the occasion. Sen. Dodd also urged colleagues to cosponsor the “Prematurity Research ...