Preeclampsia Awaress: Preeclampsia.org · Health Info · HELLP Syndrome · Email Support
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Preeclampsia (pree-eh-CLAMP-see-a) is a disorder that occurs during or after pregnancy and can affect both the mother and the fetus lethally. (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) and toxemia are outdated terms for preeclampsia.) Affecting roughly 6.5% of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and usually the presence of protein in the urine.
Typically, preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks (middle to late pregnancy), or up to six weeks postpartum (after giving birth), though in rare cases it can occur earlier. HELLP syndrome and eclampsia (seizures) are variants of preeclampsia.
Swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision are important symptoms; however, some women with rapidly advancing preeclampsia report few symptoms.
Proper prenatal care, and prompt reporting of any symptoms, is essential to the diagnosis and management of preeclampsia.
In the U.S., preeclampsia is one of the four most common reasons for maternal death: on average, there is one maternal death for every 100,000 births. African American women are three times more likely to die from preeclampsia.
Globally, preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death. By conservative estimates, these disorders are responsible for 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year.
The problem is, few people are aware, or are adequately informed, about preeclampsia. The Foundation’s mission is drive awareness, advance scientific and medical understanding, and help create a world where preeclampsia and related disorders no longer threaten the lives of mothers and babies.