This month is Preeclampsia Awareness Month, which feels timely since I developed severe preeclampsia (and had my sweet boy) in May two years ago. Prior to being pregnant I didn’t even know about this disease and when I was pregnant didn’t pay much attention to it. I didn’t fall into any of the risk factor categories and no one I knew ever had it.
Esteban’s birth was hard and scary; you can read more about those details here. Like is common with preeclampsia, once I developed the disease it became severe fast. I am thankful it didn’t start until after 40 weeks for me, so when I was induced I didn’t worry about it being too early for my son. Afterwards, Esteban and I recovered fairly quickly from it all. Unfortunately this isn’t the case for many women who have preeclampsia. I’m part of a Facebook support group for women with preeclampsia; reading those stories and updates is sobering. A lot of women deliver early, babies spend weeks in the NICU, and many lose their children and/or mothers to this disease. While only affecting 5-8% of pregnancies, globally preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death – responsible for 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year (source).
Pregnancy and motherhood have changed me significantly, so did having preeclampsia – physically and emotionally. This month I am especially thinking and praying for all of the families who have and will be impacted by this disease.