Deborah E. Bush
Director of Communications
Preeclampsia Foundation Introduces Education Tool to Inform Expectant Mothers about Life-Threatening Disorder of Pregnancy
Illustrated preeclampsia symptoms tear pad now available, already adopted by California healthcare initiative
Melbourne, Fla. — May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The Preeclampsia Foundation today released the Illustrated Preeclampsia Symptoms Tear Pad, a patient education tool that was developed in collaboration with health services researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Ill. The tool effectively informs pregnant women, even those with potentially poor literacy, about preeclampsia. Because preeclampsia is a disorder that can have grave consequences for a mother and her unborn baby, the goal is for the tool to offer information in a way that allows women to assimilate and retain knowledge related to preeclampsia, leading them to promptly seek medical attention should they have symptoms related to preeclampsia.
Findings from a study published in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (May 2012) and funded by the Preeclampsia Foundation, supported the Foundation’s long-held belief that knowing the symptoms of this life-threatening disorder of pregnancy would help empower women to secure the care they need. The results of this study prompted the Foundation to mass produce this educational tool in the form of a single-sided tear pad.
Eleni Tsigas, executive director of the Preeclampsia Foundation, announced, “The English version of the Illustrated Preeclampsia Symptoms Tear Pad is now ready for distribution to health care providers and can be obtained through our online Marketplace at www.preeclampsia.org/market-place for just the cost of shipping and handling. Spanish tear pads will be printed next, pending funding support. We are very excited to put this evidence-based tool in the hands of all who provide prenatal care and counsel pregnant women.”
Recognizing the importance of patient education in efforts to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC), reviewed and adopted the tear pad into their Preeclampsia Toolkit. In the near future, it will be distributed and used by hundreds of hospitals in California.
Local health departments provide health services to members of their community and can make use of an effective educational tool. With that in mind, “The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is pleased to support and share the Illustrated Preeclampsia Symptoms Tear Pad with more than 2800 local health departments nationwide. This tool will be useful in providing health education to prenatal women receiving a variety of services at local health departments,” said Robert Pestronk, Executive Director of NACCHO. “Pregnancy-related death continues to be an important public health concern. Information that can prevent up to half of the most serious preeclampsia-related outcomes, such as maternal mortality, should be accessible to all pregnant women – regardless of socioeconomic status or education level.”
“It is our hope that women who understand and recognize the warning symptoms associated with preeclampsia will be more likely to seek timely and appropriate care,” said Dr. Whitney You, the principal investigator for the research study which developed the tool. “Patient education should work in concert with clinical and laboratory initiatives aimed at treating preeclampsia to ultimately reduce the morbidity and mortality that stems from the disease. It is important to recognize that even if we were to develop the perfect therapy or cure for preeclampsia, its value is greatly reduced if women fail to seek appropriate care.”
“Many things are coming together this month which will raise awareness about preeclampsia,” said Tsigas. “This is the first year that the US Department of Health and Human Services designated May as Preeclampsia Awareness Month and the Preeclampsia Foundation’s 4th annual Promise Walk for Preeclampsia™ is raising tremendous awareness in 44 cities nationwide, while fundraising for critical research and education initiatives.”
About Preeclampsia: Thousands of women and babies die or get very sick each year from a dangerous condition called preeclampsia, a life-threatening disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Preeclampsia and related disorders such as HELLP syndrome and eclampsia are most often characterized by a rapid rise in blood pressure that can lead to seizure, stroke, multiple organ failure and death of the mother and/or baby. Preeclampsia occurs in 5-8% of all pregnancies with at least 200,000 women affected each year in the U.S. Globally, it is a leading cause of death, taking the lives of 76,000 mothers and 500,000 babies.
About the Preeclampsia Foundation: A U.S.-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2000, the Preeclampsia Foundation is dedicated to providing patient support and education, raising public awareness, catalyzing research and improving health care practices, envisioning a world where preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy no longer threaten the lives of mothers and babies. More information can be found at www.preeclampsia.org or by calling toll-free (800) 665-9341.
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What is HELLP syndrome?