January 2017

Understanding "risk reduction" vs. "prevention"
Why it matters for your mental and physical well-being!

As a preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome survivor, you may struggle as you try to make sense of what happened: Why me? Could I have done anything to prevent it?

It's normal to feel that way, but rest assured: You are not in any way to blame for what happened. As expectant mothers, we're so focused on our baby's well-being that when preeclampsia strikes, we tend to blame ourselves. Sometimes that blame can also be imposed by well-meaning, but ultimately frustrating, loved ones or care providers.

Survivors frequently contact us to ask:
  • "I exercised, ate right, and went to all my doctor's appointments. How could I have gotten preeclampsia?"
  • "Did I do something that caused me to get preeclampsia?"
  • "How do I explain to my family and friends what happened to me so they understand there was no way I could have prevented this?"
It's very easy to confuse the idea that you somehow "caused" your preeclampsia with the understanding that there are some individual health risks for developing preeclampsia you can control.

We don't yet completely understand what causes preeclampsia, so there's currently no way for you to absolutely prevent getting it. But we do understand some of the risk factors for developing it, so there are things you can do to reduce your risk. Understanding the difference between "disease prevention" and "risk reduction" is crucial.

Disease prevention = being at 0 on the chance scale, where it's impossible for you to get that disease

Disease risk reduction = sliding your individual risk factors away from "certain", but without definitively reaching "impossible"
For an every day example, consider hand-washing. While washing your hands helps reduce your risk of getting sick, it doesn't ensure you'll never get sick. If there are things you can to do move your chance of getting preeclampsia from the 3-in-4 chance end of the scale closer to the 50/50-even chance, or even the low "1 in 12" risk enjoyed by the general population, it's a good idea to do it. There's no evidence, however, that you can move your personal risk to the zero ("impossible") end of the scale.
Kicking off the 2017 Promise Walk season!
It's that time of year again -- when we lace up our tennis shoes and get ready to hit our local parks in May and June to "Make Strides and Deliver Hope" for families affected by preeclampsia!

Registration is now open for locations all across the U.S. at
The Promise Walk holds incredible importance to the Preeclampsia Foundation's ability to fulfill our mission of providing compassionate support and raising awareness in our local communities. But you don't have to take our word for it! We walk for families like this:

"When my grandson was stillborn we saw the walk on Facebook and decided to do it in his memory. It has become our family's most precious way to share his memory."

We're still looking for some volunteers to help us continue building our walks' legacies in the following great communities:
  • Lake Charles, LA
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Nashville, TN
  • San Diego, CA
  • Syracuse, NY
If you live in one of these areas, or just want to support the events happening in your own area, please contact Laney Poye at laney.poye@preeclampsia.org for more information on becoming a volunteer.
New law funds postpartum depression screening
After more than two years in the making, federal legislation known as the 21st Century Cures Act passed Congress and was signed into law. The landmark legislation was one of the final bills signed into law by President Obama. In addition to providing support for research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and resources for new drug and device approval at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the bill also seeks to improve and support programs and policies for maternal health and mental health.

"The Preeclampsia Foundation strongly supports this increased funding to address postpartum depression, highlighting its direct link to the adverse outcomes often associated with preeclampsia, and the need to ensure a woman's health is supported during pre-conception, pregnancy, and the postpartum period," said Eleni Tsigas, Executive Director. 
The legislation provides resources for the screening of and treatment for maternal depression, authorizing $20 million over four years for state grant funding to establish, improve, and maintain programs for screening, assessment, and treatment services for maternal depression for women who are pregnant or recently gave birth.
Thanks to our volunteers for a great 2016!
Special thanks to our volunteers who contributed more than 5,800 hours during 2016! That means you helped the Preeclampsia Foundation save nearly $137,000 because you volunteered your precious time!

Thank you so much. Working together, we can eliminate preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy -- it's a mission that matters, to families everywhere.

Not a volunteer yet but want to join the action? Visit our Volunteer Information Center!
Announcing the 2017 Patient Advocates Summit: Where would you go?
Calling all preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome survivors and their loved ones! Have you ever wanted to take your advocacy to the next level? Want to learn more about how to effectively share your story as a survivor? Want to find ways to make healthcare improvements at your local medical facility? Then our in-person Patient Advocates Summit this fall is the place for you to come!

In October 2016, dozens of amazing advocates came together in Orlando, Florida, for learning and fellowship. These incredible women and men are already using their training to do great things for preeclampsia education and awareness in their local communities.

We're now deciding in which city to host our 2017 Summit: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, Philadelphia or Washington, DC. Pop your answer to us in this short survey: