August 2017

You have the power to get your doctor to listen to you
We've been there. In the doctor's office or hospital with a concern or question that gets dismissed by your healthcare provider, sometimes without a second thought. Here's the first of seven real life scenarios that can help you get your concern addressed:

1. My doctor/nurse/midwife is not taking my symptoms seriously. How can I get them to pay more attention to the symptoms I'm reporting and conduct the necessary tests to confirm a diagnosis?

Women and their concerns are treated with everything from healthy respect to downright contempt. While there are many women who have positive and validating experiences with their healthcare providers, some encounters leave us frustrated. If your provider is refusing to do basic testing after you have reported symptoms of preeclampsia or your blood pressure is elevated, use the following language with a kind and respectful voice:

"I understand you don't think this is important. Please note in my medical record that I reported these symptoms and asked to have 'x test' on this date and that you feel the test is unnecessary."

Ask for a copy of your records. Meaningful Use laws enacted in recent years make it a requirement that a patient's medical records be easily and freely accessible to her. Follow up through your patient portal or other mechanism to ensure these notes are in your record.

Highly emotional or overly dramatic displays may contribute to people dismissing or invalidating your concerns. Use specific language to describe your symptoms. Don't say, for example, "My stomach hurts." Instead, try "I have a sharp/dull/stabbing/throbbing (pick the best one) pain here" and point to the spot. Sometimes being more specific will aid in the diagnosis.
1st year costs of preeclampsia estimated at $2.18 billion
During the first year of life, the overall burden of preeclampsia represents one third of the total cost of obstetric care for preeclampsia pregnancies
in the U.S.
For the first time, a significant study just published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology estimates the cost burden of preeclampsia for both mothers and infants within the first 12 months after delivery in the U.S. to be $2.18 billion.

Why is this significant? This editorial commentary, co-authored by the Preeclampsia Foundation's Chief Executive Officer Eleni Tsigas, talks about the study's significance.

Primarily, q uantifying the total cost of a health problem helps to show the public, payers, and healthcare administrators its magnitude. By underscoring the economic burden of preeclampsia, this study provides important information about the high costs of this condition.  
Most importantly, it serves as a stark reminder that research efforts must be continued in order to understand the etiology, prediction, and treatment of a condition that is among the biggest challenges in maternity care today.

Researchers documented the short-term medical costs associated with preeclampsia to be $2.18 billion -- $1.03 billion in maternal healthcare costs and $1.15 billion for infants born to mothers with preeclampsia.
Guidelines for severe hypertension in pregnancy and the postpartum period improve care
Complications arising from hypertensive disorders of pregnancy like preeclampsia are among the leading causes of preventable severe maternal morbidity and mortality. Timely and appropriate treatment has the potential to significantly reduce these hypertension-related complications.

To assist healthcare providers in achieving this goal, the Council for Patient Safety in Women's Health Care -- including the Preeclampsia Foundation -- developed a "patient safety bundle" to coordinate and standardize the care provided to women with severe hypertension during pregnancy and the postpartum period. A patient safety bundle is a set of evidence-based guidelines, to be adapted for local circumstances, to optimally manage a medical condition and thus improve patient outcomes.

This is one of several patient safety bundles developed by multidisciplinary work groups of the National Partnership for Maternal Safety under the guidance of the Council on Patient Safety in Women's Health Care. These safety bundles outline critical clinical practices that should be implemented in every maternity care setting. Similar to other bundles that have been developed and promoted by the Partnership, the hypertension safety bundle is organized into four domains: Readiness, Recognition and Prevention, Response, and Reporting and Systems Learning.

Although the bundle components may be adapted to meet the resources available in individual facilities, standardization within an institution is strongly encouraged. This commentary provides information to assist with bundle implementation.

We appreciate our G.E.M.s!
Here's what one of our G.E.M. members says about this special monthly giving program: 
"The GEM program is a great way for me to show my support for the Preeclampsia Foundation throughout the year. It's easy to set up and allows me to manage my contributions as part of my monthly budget."    
Linda J Murray, SVP Consumer Experience and Global Editor in Chief, BabyCenter

In addition to its convenience and other benefits, turning your tax-deductible gift into monthly donations will make our shared mission of saving the lives of mothers and babies go even further.

As a G.E.M., you'll be with us every step of the way towards a world where preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy no longer threaten the lives of mothers and infants. We offer different giving levels for budgets of all sizes so be a real G.E.M. and join this special program today!