Atrium Health Navicent Urges Prenatal Care During Preeclampsia Awareness Month

Atrium Health Navicent Urges Prenatal Care During Preeclampsia Awareness Month

Atrium Health Navicent doctors are highlighting the dangers of preeclampsia, a condition responsible for the deaths of 50,000 mothers and 500,000 babies worldwide each year. Occurring after 20 weeks of pregnancy, preeclampsia affects 5 to 8 percent of expectant mothers and is marked by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. This condition can lead to seizures, stroke, organ failure, and death for both mother and baby. It also increases risks of fetal growth restriction and stillbirth.

Preeclampsia is more common in first-time pregnancies and among very young or older mothers. Additional risk factors include a history of high blood pressure, pre-gestational diabetes, and autoimmune disorders. Rising rates of chronic hypertension, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and advanced maternal age contribute to the increasing incidence of preeclampsia.

Ethnicity also plays a role in preeclampsia risk, with Black and Hispanic women experiencing higher rates of maternal death. In Georgia, where maternal mortality is particularly high, Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications like preeclampsia.

To address this, Atrium Health Navicent supports the CDC’s “HEAR HER” campaign, which aims to raise awareness about serious pregnancy-related complications and encourage pregnant women to voice their concerns.

“It’s vital that women call their doctors when they think something isn’t right with their pregnancy. Like the CDC’s campaign makes clear, many maternal deaths can be prevented and by raising awareness about pregnancy-related complications. Coworkers, family members, friends and others can help support mothers in our community and improve health outcomes,” said Dr. Misti Patel, an Atrium Health Navicent maternal fetal medicine specialist. “Sometimes pregnant women with preeclampsia have no symptoms. When women participate in prenatal care and follow-up appointments, they allow their obstetrician to closely monitor their care and have the best chance to quickly identify potentially life-threatening concerns.”

Symptoms of preeclampsia can appear suddenly and include swelling, gastric pain, headaches, visual changes, shortness of breath, and high blood pressure. Pregnant women are urged to seek medical attention if these symptoms occur.

Doctors manage preeclampsia by balancing the health risks to the mother and baby, sometimes recommending early delivery or treating with medications and hospitalization. Routine prenatal care and regular check-ups are essential for early detection and management.

Atrium Health Navicent Women’s Care offers services in Forsyth and Macon. For appointments, call 478-633-1821.

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