Help Spread Awareness About This Deadly Pregnancy Disease

pregnantWhen preeclampsia struck in my 26th week of pregnancy, it came at me and my son with such unexpected power, I barely knew what was happening. I'd heard of the disease, but thought it was something that couldn't affect me nor did I have any idea how it would change our lives forever.

Many women are in the same boat. Awareness has improved in the last eight years since I delivered my extremely premature son (1 pound, 15 ounces), but there's much more work that needs to be done. You can help in a very quick and simple way.

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While it seems just about every disease and cause has its own designated national month, to date preeclampsia does not. That needs to change. While we can debate all day how much difference these designated months actually make, they certainly don't do any harm. And any extra bit of attention to this deadly disease can only help.

The Preeclampsia Foundation is working to get May designed as "National Preeclampsia Month" and is trying to get at least 2,500 signatures by December 31. It doesn't cost you a dime, but rather just takes a few seconds for you to add your name to the list.

Some facts: Preeclampsia is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. It occurs only in pregnancy and the postpartum period. It affects 5-8 percent of all pregnancies. In its most extreme form, it can lead to death for mother and/or child. It's estimated to lead to 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year worldwide. In the United States alone, 320,000 cases of preeclampsia are diagnosed every year, and about 25 percent of those result in severe, life-threatening consequences to a woman and her baby.

Those of us who survived it know how lucky we are, but many of our children will forever live with the effects of it -- from learning problems to severe disabilities. It's a powerful disease, and our best power against it is awareness until a cure can be found.

So please, take a few minutes of your time to sign this petition on behalf of anyone you know who may have suffered from preeclampsia and for those who may face it in the future.

Will you sign this petition to designate May as National Preeclampsia Awareness Month?


Image via David Boyle/Flickr

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