I heard the word pre-eclampsia for the first time on this day, 2 years ago. I didn’t understand why there was so much activity, I didn’t understand why everyone was so concerned, I didn’t understand the tests, the ultrasounds, the concern. I didn’t know what a perinatologist did, or why they were involved. I didn’t understand why that nurse kept saying “in case you need to not be pregnant any more”.

  • Pre-eclampsia and associated hypertensive disorders affect between 7-10% of all pregnancies.
  • No one knows what causes pre-eclampsia.
  • If you developed pre-eclampsia in your first pregnancy, you have a 46% chance of developing it in subsequent pregnancy.
  • If you did not have pre-eclampsia in your first pregnancy, you have a 7.6% chance of developing it in any subsequent pregnancies.
  • Pre-eclampsia is a leading cause of prematurity in the US and the UK, about 15% of all births.
  • The only cure for pre-eclampsia is delivery, and many women actually get sicker after the baby is born.
  • The average time from diagnosis to delivery is 2 weeks.
  • Pre-eclampsia affects 4.4% of births all through the world – roughly 4 million a year (that’s almost 11,000 women who will be diagnosed today.)
  • Left untreated, pre-eclampsia leads to eclampsia (seizures), kidney failure, stroke, heart and lung failure, aneurysm, and may lead to HELLP.
  • Magnesium Sulfate has limited the deaths as a result of pre-eclampsia through most of Europe and North America. It’s not on the list of required drugs in almost all of Africa, South Asia or South America.
  • In the time it took you to read this, a mother or her baby died from pre-eclampsia or eclampsia.
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19 Responses to Remember

  1. areyoukiddingme says:

    Thanks for the valuable information. I'm sorry that you have to know it.

  2. loribeth says:

    I never heard of pre-e either until I came online seeking support for my own pregnancy loss. I'd always heard my mother say she'd had a "hard time" with my birth & was "sick" for awhile afterwards. I did not know until after my own loss that she had had pre-ecclampsia & that it was touch & go for both of us for awhile there.

    I was on a scrapbooking message board a few years ago where a young mother-to-be, first time pregnancy, kept talking about her blood pressure being high, in a very dismissive kind of way. I was frightened for her, & left messages expressing concern & telling her to listen to her dr, while trying not to come across as too alarmist. I was very relieved when the baby arrived safely. It didn't sink in for her until almost the very end of the pregnancy that this was serious stuff. Oh, the innocence…

    Sobering information, Mrs. Spit. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Tash says:

    Prior to my own nightmare, my knowledge of PreE was limited to women very late in pregnancy who delivered their children a few weeks early and then got better immediately. I never knew what the big deal was until reading about Wendy Wasserstein's experience in the New Yorker, and then a subsequent article in the same magazine about a researcher who's trying to pin down a marker that one can begin tracking early in the pregnancy to determine whether the mother is likely to experience it and when. And then I landed on this planet, and was overwhelmed. I'm so sorry you need to be a messenger for this, but I must say you do a wonderful job.

    Thinking of you this week.

  4. JuliaS says:

    Thank you for sharing this information with us. Like others have mentioned, I have limited understanding of PreE. I will never be able to understand fully and comprehend all that PreE can and does mean because I have not experienced it personally. Through your experience and your courage in sharing – I can become more compassionate and more supportive.

    Thinking of you and Gabriel and always keeping you in my best hopes and prayers.

  5. Martha says:

    PreE is brutal and I hope and pray that research into it will yield clues into its prevention and complete treatment.

  6. Donna says:

    It's shocking that so many pregnant women are still unaware of the facts surrounding PE.

    Thinking of you, Mr. Spit and Gabriel.

  7. Heather says:

    I too remember hearing of it for the first time. Now I know more than I ever wish I did. You probably feel the same.

    Thinking of you and Gabriel as the two year mark comes.

  8. Aunt Becky says:

    I've been thinking of you and Gabriel and Mr. Spit all week. My heart is heavy.

  9. Betty M says:

    I am one of the lucky ones – a known risk so monitored like a hawk and delivered as soon as it became apparent it was happening. So many are not so lucky – my jobshare lost her first when she had HELLP and had pre-e in both subsequent pregnancies. Thank you for what you do educating the blogosphere on this issue. Thinking of you all.

  10. Two Hands says:

    I have Gabriel's birthday marked on my calendar. My heart will be with you that day more than all the others.
    I hope that if it is my calling to really become a midwife that I get an opportunity to fight PreE. For you and Gabriel and all the others who have had to meet this monster face-to-face.

  11. Natalie says:

    Thank you for sharing that information.

  12. HereWeGoAJen says:

    I've been thinking of your Gabriel these days, even more than usual. And of you, and Mr. Spit, of course.

  13. Julia says:

    I saw December approaching last week and thought of you. I am sorry you know…

  14. Trish says:

    I wish I had something more profound to say, but all I can find in my head is this:

    Eff you, pre-e. EFF YOU.

  15. luna says:

    remembering gabriel with you this week, mrs. spit.

  16. Debby says:

    I'm wishing that this was something that you knew nothing about. I am thinking of you this week.

  17. Bluebird says:

    I'm so sorry you ever had to hear this word.

    Although, at the same time, I wish more people knew it and understood it. So I guess I wish that no one, ever, had to experience it.

    ((Hugs)) Mrs. Spit. Thinking of you.

  18. JamieD says:

    Remembering with you.

    What shocking and brutal statistics.

  19. Elle says:

    "In the time it took you to read this, a mother or her baby died from pre-eclampsia or eclampsia."

    I didn't know this complication occurred so often. I so wish that no one ever had to enter the black hole of engulfing grief.

    Thinking about you tonight, Mrs. Spit.

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