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.