Feb. 3, 2017 is Wear Red for Women Day! Did you know that because of this awareness-raising initiative, nearly 300 fewer women die of heart disease and stroke each day?!
Preeclampsia: It’s not a word you want to hear during a pregnancy. And let me tell you, it’s not something you want to experience either. I delivered my second child, a healthy little boy, this past July. Unfortunately, he came a month early because I developed preeclampsia at the end of my pregnancy.
The whole experience was one very scary nightmare. At my 36 week appointment, there was protein in my urine, I had extremely high blood pressure and my ankles were ridiculously, horribly swollen (I looked like I was wearing a fat suit I was retaining so much water!) I was sent to labor and delivery, given steroid shots to help my baby’s lungs develop and put on a magnesium drip to prevent any seizures from my high blood pressure. The magnesium drip caused horrible nausea, so I spent the entire night throwing up. I actually continued vomiting THROUGH my spinal tap procedure for my C-section, which was about the lowest point of the whole birth process. Because as if a spinal tap isn’t bad enough, let’s add some nice dry heaving to the process!
My baby was then taken from me for a couple of days, because I wasn’t allowed to hold him unsupervised while I continued the magnesium drip. Cue more nausea and general terribleness. Finally, I was allowed to join the other mamas in the regular labor and delivery unit and leave my room by the NICU where I was monitored closely. By that point, my swelling went down from getting rid of most of the water weight, I was able to start nursing my baby and my spirits started to rise. Amazingly, my milk came in perfectly on schedule even after all the trauma to my body; the nurses couldn’t believe how much milk I was able to provide my little preemie baby. It felt like a miracle, and I was extremely thankful that my baby and I were both alive and healthy.
I hadn’t allowed myself to google preeclampsia during the whole turn of events. However, when I did some playing around on the internet, I discovered that now, NOW, not only was I stripped away of a happy birth experience and bonding time with my son after his birth, but that *drum roll* I was at a greater risk for heart disease! The hits just kept on coming!
Many women may not be aware that this condition can signal heart disease risk. So if you or someone you know experienced preeclampsia, you should know that a history of preeclampsia doubles the risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots within 5 to 15 years after pregnancy.
Here at IMB, we’re all about educating and giving encouragement to women to take care of ourselves. This should be a wake-up call to anyone who didn’t already know to research the risks of heart disease and take preventative measures to protect yourself. One thing you can do is to participate in National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 3. By wearing red and donating to the Go Red For Women fund, you can support educational programs to increase women’s awareness about heart health!
In addition, get to know your numbers! Five numbers that all women should know to take control of their heart health are:
- Total Cholesterol
- HDL (good) Cholesterol
- Blood Pressure
- Blood Sugar
- Body Mass Index
Happy National Wear Red for Women Day!!!! Here’s to our health!