World Preeclampsia Day Date in the current year: May 22, 2024

World Preeclampsia Day World Preeclampsia Day is observed annually on May 22. It was created to raise awareness of a fairly common pregnancy complication that can cause long-term health issues or even result in the death of the mother and/or the fetus if left untreated.

Preeclampsia (also spelled pre-eclampsia) is a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and often high levels of protein in the urine. It usually begins in the second half of the pregnancy and, if untreated, can result in the development of eclampsia (seizures), kidney failure, HELLP syndrome, cardiac arrest, placental abruption, pulmonary edema, and other complications. In severe cases, the complications of preeclampsia may be fatal for both the mother and the fetus.

Preeclampsia affects 2–8% of pregnancies worldwide and kills nearly 76,000 mothers and 500,000 babies every year. The exact causes of preeclampsia are unknown, but there are a number of risk factors associated with the disorder: a history of prior hypertension, a prior or family history of preeclampsia, obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, first pregnancy, multiple pregnancy, and higher maternal age.

The signs of preeclampsia (aside from high blood pressure) include swelling of the face and hands, severe headache, weight gain of more than 2 lbs/1 kg in a week, nausea after the 20th week of pregnancy, changes in vision, and panting, gasping or difficulty breathing. All of these symptoms are non-specific, so it is important to reach out to your healthcare provider if you experience any of them to figure out whether you have preeclampsia or not.

The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery, although the symptoms typically continue into the postpartum period. However, when the symptoms are not too severe, a preterm birth is usually avoided. The mother is closely monitored instead to prevent eclampsia and other complications, sometimes in a hospital setting.

World Preeclampsia Day was launched in 2017 by a group of maternal health organizations from around the globe. The theme of inaugural World Preeclampsia Day was “Be prepared before lightning strikes”; it was meant to encourage pregnant women to look out for the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia and contact their healthcare providers in case they experience any.

World Preeclampsia Day has been observed every year since its inception to raise awareness of the dangers of preeclampsia and honor the memory of mothers and babies who have lost their lives to preeclampsia and related disorders over the past year. According to the World Health Organizations, 99% of all preeclampsia-related deaths occur in low-to-middle income countries, so one of the goals of World Preeclampsia Day is to consolidate international efforts towards raising preeclampsia awareness and improving access to healthcare in these countries.

You can observe World Preeclampsia Day by learning more about this life-threatening condition and helping to educate others, sharing your experience of preeclampsia, participating in a World Preeclampsia Day event near your or organizing an event of your own, donating to or volunteering for a maternal health organization of your choice, and spreading the world on social media with the hashtags #WorldPreeclampsiaDay and #PreeclampsiaDay.

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World Preeclampsia Day, international observances, pregnancy complications, awareness days, preeclampsia