MELBOURNE, Florida, May 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 76,000 mothers and 500,000 babies worldwide lose their lives to preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy every year. To raise awareness of preeclampsia as a life-threatening complication of pregnancy, maternal health organizations around the world are joining forces to host the first-ever World Preeclampsia Day on Monday, May 22.
World Preeclampsia Day's theme – "Be prepared before lightning strikes" – encourages pregnant women to recognize symptoms early and if they experience any, contact their healthcare providers.
Co-sponsors BabyCenter, Ending Eclampsia/USAID, the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy, and PRE-EMPT join the Preeclampsia Foundation to reduce preventable deaths from preeclampsia, a leading cause of maternal and infant mortality.
As stated in a proclamation endorsed by World Preeclampsia Day cosponsors and other maternal health organizations, "We join together to highlight the relatively high prevalence and devastating impact of preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. These disorders are not rare complications of pregnancy; indeed, they affect 8-10% of pregnancies worldwide."
Preeclampsia is a common factor in preterm delivery and accounts for 20% of all neonatal intensive care admissions. For the mother, complications can cause lengthy illness and are strongly associated with the future development of debilitating diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and renal impairment.
The World Health Organization has highlighted that the condition has a highly disproportionate impact on low-to-middle income countries (LMIC), where over 99% of preeclampsia-related deaths occur. It is estimated that 16% of maternal deaths in LMICs result from preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. It is the leading cause of maternal mortality in the Americas, accounting for a quarter of all maternal deaths in Latin America, and a tenth of maternal deaths in Africa and Asia.
Too many lives are taken or seriously affected by these disorders, underscoring the importance of symptom recognition and timely, effective response by trained healthcare workers. This is especially true in areas where access to care is reduced.
With limited understanding about the cause and preventative or effective treatments, the need for basic and clinical research to advance medical options and healthcare practices must be prioritized.
Media and the public can participate in World Preeclampsia Day by: