Preeclampsia – Raising Awareness for Hope and Health

I have this friend and her name is Sarah. She is one of those people that you stand in awe of what she does for others. I have known her for just over a year now and one of the reasons that I met her was through social good. She had asked for donations for those in need secondary to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Then, she started this knitting project called Spreading the Warmth with a goal of making sure others were warm after Sandy. It was hugely successful and handknitted hats were donated from all over the world. One of Sarah’s other biggest passions is volunteering to raise awareness for Preeclampsia. Read more about her mission. Learn something so you can help others. 


I woke up one morning and knew something was wrong. It was only 5 days after my second child was born so I wasn’t surprised to be feeling exhausted, but this seemed different.   I was having a hard time catching my breath and just couldn’t seem to focus clearly on anything I would look at.   I told my husband that I felt off and he insisted I call the doctor.  His insistence worried me so I called.  Then my doctor told me that I needed to get to the emergency room right away which really worried me.

After many hours in the hospital, with blood pressure readings like 220/120 a nurse told me “Sarah, you are suffering from Postpartum Preeclampsia” What?  There I was, an educated mother of two being diagnosed with a disorder of pregnancy that affects 1 in 12 pregnancies YET it was something I had only briefly heard about and had no idea it could happened postpartum.  I was hooked up to a Magnesium Sulfate IV to prevent seizures or a stroke.  Petrified I might die, confused about what was really happening to me; the magnesium made me feel so sickly, I was on oxygen, I couldn’t get out of bed and cried for three days straight wanting to see my babies again.

When I was discharged I decided to research what happened to me.  That is when I found the Preeclampsia Foundation.  Reading the boards on their site I realized what happened to me was actually somewhat common.  What I still didn’t understand was HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT PREECLAMPSIA???  HOW???  If 1 in 12 women suffered from preeclampsia how did I not know more about it.  This is why I decided to bring the Promise walk for Preeclampsia to the Philadelphia Area.  I wanted to raise awareness. I wanted to give back to other mothers since my preeclampsia story didn’t harm my beautiful baby girl.

Have you heard of preeclampsia?

According to the Preeclampsia Foundation, thousands of women and babies die or get very sick each year from this dangerous condition called preeclampsia. It is a life-threatening disorder that occurs in up to 1 in 12 women during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Preeclampsia and related disorders such as HELLP syndrome and eclampsia are most often characterized by the presence of protein in the urine and a rapid rise in blood pressure that can lead to seizure, stroke, multiple organ failure and death of the mother and/or baby. Swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision are important symptoms; however, some women with rapidly advancing disease report few symptoms.



Typically, preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks gestation (in the late 2nd or 3rd trimesters or middle to late pregnancy), though it can occur earlier and up to 6 weeks postpartum. Proper prenatal care is essential to diagnose and manage preeclampsia. Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) and toxemia are outdated terms for preeclampsia. HELLP syndrome and eclampsia (seizures) are other variants of preeclampsia.

The Philadelphia Area Promise Walk for Preeclampsia is always a morning of hope and promise.  As the walk coordinator I have met so many amazing women and their families.  We come together one morning a year to bring hope, to raise awareness and to feel less isolated in what we went through.  We mourn those that left us too soon due to preeclampsia.  It is my hope that one day we will find a cause and a cure, I pray that my children never have to worry about preeclampsia.  Please help us raise awareness by sharing the signs and symptoms with someone you know. This year the walk is being held on Saturday, May 3rd at Challenge Grove Park in Cherry Hill, N.J.


Sarah is a mother of two she spends her days working at a University and nights playing with her children. In her “free” time Sarah is a Shot@Life Champion, a volunteer walk coordinator for the Preeclampsia Foundation and a contributor at World Moms Blog. Visit Sarah at her own blog Finnegan and The Hughes, where she writes about parenting, kid friendly adventures and Social Good issues.

About Lauryn Blakesley

A woman out to explore, celebrate, and enjoy everything that my community and living locally has to offer. Blessed with three beautiful children and an incredible husband, our family embraces adventure while dreaming of what is to come. Lover of knitting, running (although mostly after little ones right now), the color orange, fun accessories, fall, tea, and a clean kitchen floor. I spend my days in awe of my family and trying to teach my three to treat others as they would want to be treated.

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  1. I love you Lauryn!! Thank you so much for sharing, the beautiful intro, always helping share and for guest posting on my blog today too!! xoox
    Sarah Hughes recently posted…Thoughtful Thursday: Protect Your HeartMy Profile

  2. I have just learned about preeclampsia this week and am surprised to not have known about it before too! I will definitely pass this along to my currently prego friends. You’re commitment to help and share is wonderful!
    kim @ DESIGN + LIFE + KIDS recently posted…kleenex style studioMy Profile

  3. Sarah, your story is truly eye opening. How is it that I have three kids and know nothing more about preeclampsia other than that it has something to do with pregnancy and it’s not a good thing??Thank you for sharing your story and providing such useful information.
    Lindsey recently posted…Preschooler Birthday Gift Ideas Under $25My Profile

  4. It’s so great to really learn about something that effects so many people and then find out how you can help! Thank you for posting1
    Rachel recently posted…Linvilla Orchards: Fore the Planet!My Profile

  5. It’s great to really learn about a disease that effects so many people and raise awareness! AMAZING POST! Love it and will share!
    Claudia Krusch recently posted…Champions Of Care Bringing A Whole New Meaning To HealthMy Profile

  6. My cousin and my aunt had experienced preeclampsia. They had to go through c-section procedure to deliver their babies. It was quite scary for me, therefore I was very cautious during my pregnancies. Thank’s God, I didn’t experience the same. The campaign is very important to bring the awareness to all of us.
    Mama Obito recently posted…Foodpanda; Food Delivered to Your Door only a Click AwayMy Profile

  7. Thank you for sharing this! I want to raise awareness for postpartum preeclampsia as well. I have experienced it after the birth of all four of my children. With my first, I had no idea I had it was not treated. Looking back, I’m overwhelmed knowing I could have died. God protected me. My husband was in medical school at the time but even he was unaware of this possibility. The second and third times, I was hospitalized like you and received the mag drip to prevent seizures. The fourth time was not as severe so I didn’t require hospitalization. I have a friend who had it, was told like me (the first time) it was probably a spinal headache from her epidural, then she has stroke-like symptoms and temporary blindness. My husband is now a neurologist and we try to let people know this is a serious condition. I feel like it is downplayed in most OBGYN offices and severely under-diagnosed. The mortality rate in postpartum preeclampsia is as high today as it was 50 years ago! We must educate women in this deadly disease.

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