Fighting Preeclampsia in May and Beyond

This is my last blog post as ACOG president (I continue as immediate past president for another year), so I’d like to finish where it all began, with my Issue of the Year: preeclampsia. It’s a condition that affects up to 7% of pregnant women, and in my opinion, it’s the most important medical complication of pregnancy. It’s potentially life-threatening to mother and baby during pregnancy and can signal health problems for the mother later in life. Unfortunately, this serious and common condition is understudied and largely misunderstood.

As part of my President’s Program on Monday, May 7, at The College’s Annual Clinical Meeting, I invited three of my esteemed colleagues at the forefront of preeclampsia research to share what we know, what’s new, and the advances that may be coming soon in preventing and treating preeclampsia. This session will help educate ob-gyns about the condition. It’s imperative that physicians appreciate a patient’s experience of preeclampsia. It’s also extremely important to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia among women.

High blood pressure and protein in the urine can both signal preeclampsia. Because these changes are hard—if not impossible—for women to spot, blood pressure and urine tests are routinely checked at each prenatal visit. Other symptoms may arise, especially in the last three months of pregnancy, including sudden weight gain, headaches, swelling of the face or hands, blurred or altered vision, chest pain or shortness of breath, pain in the upper right abdomen area, and nausea and vomiting. These symptoms may seem normal, but because preeclampsia can worsen quickly, it’s important that pregnant women alert their doctor immediately if they occur.

Preeclampsia Awareness Month (PAM) in May is an excellent time to educate women and spread the word about this condition. The Preeclampsia Foundation’s website has a page devoted to the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia and what women can do to monitor themselves for preeclampsia-related changes. The foundation also has great news and information about risk factors, resources, and local PAM events. The more we know, the safer we can make pregnancy for women and their families.

2 thoughts on “Fighting Preeclampsia in May and Beyond

  1. Some studies have shown that mothers that are deficient in Vitamin D3 have a higher chance of getting preeclampsia. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/81965.php

    “Our results showed that maternal vitamin D deficiency early in pregnancy is a strong, independent risk factor for preeclampsia,” said Lisa M. Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) and lead author of the study. “Women who developed preeclampsia had vitamin D concentrations that were significantly lower early in pregnancy compared to women whose pregnancies were normal. And even though vitamin D deficiency was common in both groups, the deficiency was more prevalent among those who went on to develop preeclampsia.”

    Wouldn’t it be great of ALL doctors began making this part of routine blood work check up as they do for iron deficiency?. Even for women of child bearing age should have some routine blood work done including Vit D testing. Since this is not mandatory, it should be and one way to begin early prevention and possible prevent other vitamin D deficiency health issues.

    I look forward to hearing how the meeting turned out from the conference.

  2. One very essential and would go a long way. I presume 7 percent is ideal estimate and often there could be missing in real estimate .
    Thanks for posting

Comments are closed.