When Anita Padilla of the FOX Chicago Morning News Team was pregnant, she didn’t feel well. But because she had always heard about the ugly symptoms of pregnancy, it didn’t occur to her that something may be wrong. She just chalked it up to regular pregnancy pain and did her best to deal with it.
Turns out, she was suffering from Preeclampsia, a sometimes fatal disorder that is found in one out of 12 pregnant women today. She went on to deliver a happy, healthy baby, but only because it was caught in time.
Last week, my mom and I participated in the Chicago Promise Walk with Anita, who emceed the event as a way to help spread the word. The Promise Walk is an annual nationwide fundraiser hosted by The Preeclampsia Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing maternal and infant illness and death due to Preeclampsia.
We walked alongside survivors as well as families who have lost wives, sisters, sons, daughters and mothers to Preeclampsia.
Being in the midst of this made this so much more real to me. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it must be when one of the best days of your life turns into a living nightmare.
It was heart-wrenching to see children planting pinwheel flowers in the ground to honor the living survivors and remember those lost. One of the flowers had the name Shelly Warner Bridgewater written on it. I learned later that Shelly passed away in 2005, one week after delivering her daughter Hailey seven weeks early.
Keep reading to see the three promises moms-to-be must make.
Shelly’s story, like Anita’s and so many more, is scary because the main symptom she felt, excessive swelling, is a pretty common pregnancy symptom, making it easier to explain away or ignore. This is why awareness is so important.
So to do our part, we’re asking all of our mamas-to-be (and there area a lot of you!) to make these three 3 promises. Ready? (Pssst … time to raise your right hand)
- I promise to know the symptoms of Preeclampsia. If you have recurring headaches, excessive swelling, high blood pressure or stomach pains, tell your doctor. For more on the symptoms and how to manage the disorder, visit the Preeclampsia page on BabyCenter.
- I promise I will never miss a prenatal appointment. Sometimes the appointments can seem quick and pointless, but they’re not. They are vital to your health.
- I promise to be my own advocate, and always speak up if something doesn’t feel right. If you think something is wrong, say something. If your doctor won’t listen, push to be heard. Do not be embarrassed! Asking a question could save your life.
Want to help spread the word? Here are ways you can help …
- Sign up for a Promise Walk. There are still several planned for June. See the full list here.
- Make a donation to the Preeclampsia Foundation
- Become a volunteer for the Preeclampsia Foundation
- Tell your friends! Call them, text them, share this post via your social networks … whatever it takes.
Together, we can make a difference.
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