Posted in Heard on the Hill on March 04, 2013 by Administrator
One of the wonderful aspects of living in the United States is that you can directly influence the government process at the local, state, and federal levels. This influence only requires passion and persistence. While the Preeclampsia Foundation is thrilled that our collective passion and persistence led to May 2013 becoming the first federally-recognized National Preeclampsia Awareness Month, our work is far from over. We still need your help to secure more state and local preeclampsia awareness proclamations.
You may be asking why a local or state proclamation has value if the federal government already designated the month of May for preeclampsia.
Be aware of your long-term health risk factors and communicate them.
We've all seen the risk factors for cardiac disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, inactivity, obesity, smoking, and history of preeclampsia. Awareness of your own risk factors is key to managing them as you age and might lower risk of cardiac disease.
A recent analysis of the accuracy of our recall of our pregnancy histories by a team of researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health showed that we may not remember our complicated pregnancies well enough for questions about them to be a useful part of a screening tool. For our recall to be useful as a clinical tool in screening for heart disease, we need to be mostly accurate in our recollections years after delivery. (Imagine a 55 year old in her internist's office this week, asked for details of her pregnancy 30 years ago...) But the analysis also showed that as severity of our pregnancy complications increased, accuracy of ...
"Loss makes artists of us all as we weave new patterns in the fabric of our lives."~ Greta W. Crosby, Author of Tree and Jubilee, a book of meditation
Writing about any situation will help you gain perspective on it. Many people find they can identify and express their feelings through journaling. This expression not only contributes to our self-awareness, it also contributes to healing through the letting out of emotions, self-acceptance, and the identification of any negative self-talk patterns that we should and can intentionally replace with positive ...
If you're a new mom, your own heart health may be the furthest thing from your mind, but if you're a preeclampsia survivor, it's something you and your physician should discuss. Why? Because research has shown that preeclampsia, along with a few other pregnancy complications such as fetal growth restriction and preterm birth, may predict your future heart disease.
Studies have found the following associations between pregnancy complications and cardiovascular disease:
- A history of preeclampsia increases future risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, blood clots, and kidney disease.
- Women who have repeat or severe preeclampsia, or preeclampsia accompanied by still birth are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease than women who have high blood pressure only and during a single pregnancy.
- Women who had growth restricted babies or who delivered preterm were found to have higher blood pressure 18 years after ...
Remember the moment when you embraced maternity clothing? After a few months wearing "roomy" jeans and shirts, you made the leap into a wardrobe consisting of blouses with an empire waist.
There are very few times in our life you wear a patient status so conspicuously. Walking around in maternity clothing informs everyone of your current status. Unlike most other conditions, random strangers remark upon your wellbeing. When things are going well, these remarks can be appreciated as well intentioned. When things are not going well, these random comments can be heartrending.
It is hard to wear our medical status in public. It is hard to bear our soul. But pregnancy is finite; we only have a few months of "showing." Sometimes we have been blessed and become the parent of a new baby and sometimes a life ends before it begins.
The body returns, but a story remains. And I ask you, "Are you showing?"
There is a patient art movement spreading around the ...
Unless you have been completely untethered from all media this week, you know that a popular character on British historical drama Downton Abbey died from postpartum eclampsia, shocking and devastating over 8 million devoted viewers. In her death, Lady Sybil became our unwitting celebrity spokesperson!
With advance knowledge of this surprising plot element, thanks to our sister organization in the UK where the show aired last fall, our team developed a simple but savvy public relations campaign, including an Op-Ed piece in the Daily Beast, a press release, a newly released
When we think about maternal deaths, visions of thin, malnourished women lying on cots in thatched-roof cots immediately come to mind, when in fact they occur right in our backyard. In the U.S., preeclampsia is one of the four most common reasons for maternal death. On an average, there is approximately 1 maternal death for every 100,000 births, but for African American women, this number triples. African American women are three times more likely to die from preeclampsia and other childbirth-related issues and no one knows why.
As our society becomes more culturally diverse, this problem will indirectly affect all of us. Our daughters and granddaughters may no longer look like us ethnically but carry genes that places them at risks for complications associated with a particular race. While we attempt to unravel the mystery of what causes preeclampsia, an equally mystifying dilemma is to determine why are African American women more at risk for developing and then dying ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on January 30, 2013 by Administrator
Terrell and Kimberly Smith began 2012 with joy and anticipation as they planned for the arrival of their baby girl. But on March 12, they received the worst news of their lives: Kimberly's blood pressure hit 200/100 and her vitals were rapidly deteriorating. Their baby girl, Lauren Kelly, was gone at just 22 weeks due to severe preeclampsia.
The Smiths refused to let their tragedy go unheard: Kimberly reached out to the Preeclampsia Foundation and asked what she could do.
"South Carolina has never held a Promise Walk before, and even in conversations with various public health professionals, pregnant women, and women impacted by preeclampsia, many had not heard of the Preeclampsia Foundation," explained Smith. So she decided her goal was to bring awareness and support to the "wonderful work the Foundation is doing throughout our nation" by bringing the Promise Walk to her home state.
She has since partnered with local health care providers throughout the ...
Five weeks ago, the Preeclampsia Foundation led a historic gathering of nine companies, as well as some of the leading clinicians and researchers in the field of preeclampsia. We also had leaders and front line obstetricians from outside the "inner circle" to ensure we weren't doing too much naval gazing.
This Biomarker Consortium was evidence of several of our core values: we wanted to be influential, catalytic and bold. As the patient advocacy organization caring passionately about improving pregnancy outcomes, we were uniquely positioned to invite and get positive responses from every company who has or is investing in biomarkers as a more advanced technology to diagnose preeclampsia or screen pregnant women for future disease.
I was energized by the ideas and commitment in the room, by the spirit of collaboration and the recognition that together we can do much to advance the momentum and attention on preeclampsia. A report is being developed ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on January 10, 2013 by Administrator
It is the time of year where I spend quite a bit of time reflecting. Since our son's angelversary was December 28th, it's natural to think not only of the past year, but also of the time our lives changed forever. It has been 7 years now since that day and I can honestly say that I would have never believed I would be where I am today. A few weeks after the loss of our son, I was researching on the internet to figure out what happened to me when I found the Preeclampsia Foundation. It was perfect timing to bond with other bereaved parents on the forums. I found healing through the community of sharing our losses and our grief. It was easier to bare knowing there were others I could turn to that had experienced the same devastation. I spent alot of time on the forums and through my time there was where I felt the need to give back. I made it through the blackest of days thanks to those ladies. I knew if I could do it, so could others. I not only wanted to help families avoid my ...
A nurse from the University of Illinois Medical Center asked the Preeclampsia Foundation, "What do you think we, as nurses, could do to support patients when they are in a situation (preeclamptic pregnancy) similar to yours?"
We wondered aloud and nearly three dozen survivors responded via Facebook and our online Community Forum to share their experiences and provide their suggestions to the nursing profession. While there was very vocal appreciation for the majority of nurses who have cared for our women, there were also many helpful suggestions. Based on patient input, here are:
Top 10 Ways Nurses Can Support Preeclampsia Patients:
1. Know the symptoms, educate your patients. Know how dangerous preeclampsia can be, know the full breadth of possible symptoms, and be proactive about diagnosing and managing it. The Foundation's motto "Know the Symptoms, Trust Yourself" is targeted at pregnant women, but as healthcare ...
Keri developed severe preeclampsia at just 24 weeks pregnant and was forced to deliver her baby shortly thereafter.
Her baby girl Millie was extremely premature and weighed just 1 lb. 1 oz. She needed intensive medical care and Keri was by her side day and night.
A few days after Millie's birth, Keri set up a CaringBridge site to stay in touch with loved ones. "I had so many friends, co-workers and family members who wanted to know how to support me and who were asking for information about how Millie was doing," said Keri. "One hundred percent of my time and energy - emotional, mental and physical - was being spent on my baby and I had nothing left with which to reach out to people."
CaringBridge patient websites make is easy to share health news and receive support from everyone who cares. Using ...
The "Ask the Experts" section of the Preeclampsia Foundation's Community Forum has 318 questions answered by members of our medical board - top researchers and clinicians in hypertensive pregnancies.
Readers often visit this section, not for definitive answers to any one particular question, but to provide spark ideas about other topics or terms to search, and especially new questions to ask your doctor. The Experts answer anonymously and do not give medical advice on any specific case, but they do contribute to the ongoing discussion of preeclampsia-related topics. Information in the older links may not always reflect current understanding of the disease or today's management practices.
Here are Forum Director Heather Curtis' top 5 tips for using our ...
Encore Public Relations was named a Bronze Stevie Winner in the PR Campaign of the Year/Community Relations category in the 9th annual Stevie® Awards for Women in Business on November 9 for their work with the Preeclampsia Foundation. Encore Public Relations lead strategy efforts and execution for a multi-platform campaign that raised awareness during the 2012 annual Promise Walks for Preeclampsia across the country.
"Ironically, it was during this same weekend last year when we had the good fortune to meet Laurie and Elaine in New York City," said Eleni Tsigas, Preeclampsia Foundation's executive director. "The women were in town for another honor they were receiving and via wonderful circumstances, we were brought together at Saving Grace, our annual benefit gala."
Laura Archbold, principal of Encore Public Relations, upon receiving their award, said. "We humbly accept this honor on ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on December 05, 2012 by Administrator
What was your experience with preeclampsia?
On February 17th, 2005 I was so blessed to become a mom to a beautiful, blue-eyed, baby boy. Roddick was born 2 weeks early, by emergency c-section, due to my blood pressure staying elevated, even with bed rest. My husband was out of town for work, so he missed the birth of his 1st child. It was crazy, nurses and doctors running around trying to get me into surgery and deliver my son. Much of the delivery was a blur. They had me on and off mag sulfate to control my bp. I felt so awful, I kept thinking that this surely couldn't be what it felt like to be a new mom. I felt so bad that I didn't even have the warmth and compassion I ...
Posted in Health Information on December 05, 2012 by Administrator
By Dr. Anne Wallis ~ Who remembers the first season ER episode "Love's Labours Lost"? The answer: pretty much anyone who ever watched ER! In the episode, a pregnant woman presents to the emergency room with a complaint of bladder problems, has a seizure and later dies. This was my first exposure to the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Eclampsia is, thankfully, rare, but it carries a high case fatality rate for the mother and/or the infant. Gestational hypertension and preeclampsia are far more common, affecting between 5% and 8% of all pregnancies in the US. Moreover, these conditions are on the rise and globally, these conditions are a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death.
Obstetric providers are acutely aware of the dangers of preeclampsia because of its potential severity and rapidity of onset and progression, making high-quality prenatal ...
You can't open your email or your mailbox without receiving a solicitation from another worthy charity. A recent email I received warned of giving to certain charities that spent too much on their administrative costs or paid their CEOs exorbitant salaries, but unfortunately did nothing to help me objectively evaluate a charity's actual status, mission and financial records. It's easy to become a cynical philanthropist when unvetted alarmist messages hit your inbox. The recent Powerball Lottery got me daydreaming about winning and becoming a big ticket philanthropist. Being the steward of half a billion dollars is a huge responsibility. Of course, being the steward of even a much smaller amount is also a responsibility. How can we sit down with a checkbook and a stack of requests and feel good about our end-of-the-year charitable gifts?
I was thrilled to be able to announce to resounding applause, "It's official! The US Department of Health and Human Services has declared May National Preeclampsia Awareness Month!" at our annual benefit dinner, Saving Grace - A Night of Hope, on Friday, Oct. 26, in Point Clear, Alabama. The intimate evening was hosted by Leslie Weeks, former board member of the Preeclampsia Foundation and Owen Bailey, hospital administrator for University of South Alabama's Children's & Women's Hospital.
Board members and long-time volunteers of the Preeclampsia Foundation flew in from around the country to take part in this annual benefit dinner, this year held in a beautiful and tranquil setting, the Sonny Hill Polo Complex. A buffet style dinner was held in the beautifully appointed pavilion, followed by a program under a delicately lit tent that overlooked the water. Dr. Gabriella ...
Shelly Bridgewater was 25 years young when she died in 2005 from preeclampsia. Her best friend, Bree Housley, wrote a book about their unlikely friendship and the impact Shelly, "the social butterfly," had on her life. We Hope You Like this Song launches this week and is available in our Marketplace. We talked with Housley about inspiration, Karaoke, and how the Preeclampsia Foundation helped her healing.
What inspired you and your sister to embark on your yearlong tribute to Shelly ...
Posted in Volunteer Happenings on September 30, 2012 by Administrator
1. What was your experience with preeclampsia?
I developed HELLP Syndrome in 2009. Not knowing the symptoms of HELLP delayed my response to getting help faster. I went to the ER after three days of right upper quadrant pain (which I was told by the doctor on call that it was probably my gall bladder even though I was on bed rest for high blood pressure), difficulty breathing, and a sense of just not feeling well. I was told by the Labor and Delivery nurse I had made it just in time. When I arrived my platelets were dangerously low, my liver was enlarged and my blood pressure was high. They feared I was going to bleed out during delivery and prepped me for a transfusion. There is no scarier feeling than feeling like you might die during what is supposed to be the happiest time in your life. I delivered my son, Cooper, at 36 weeks. He was only 4lbs 13 oz. Although he was tiny and his platelets were low, he miraculously did not have to go into the NICU. We ...