Pre-eclampsia: a global health issue
2019 FIGO releases new Guidelines to combat pre-eclampsia, and calls for all women to receive first-trimester screening.
76,000 women and 500,000 babies die each year from hypertension and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy (HAP), making this disorder one of the leading causes of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality globally.
The life expectancy of women who develop preterm pre-eclampsia, requiring delivery at <37 weeks, is reduced on an average by 10 years. More women are entering pregnancy with risk factors that make them vulnerable to this complication because of economic and nutrition transition, and the consequent changing lifestyle and demographics.
Addressing hypertension and pre-eclampsia is a critical dimension in reducing maternal and perinatal risks, and preventing long term non-communicable diseases (NCDs). hypertension and pre-eclampsia is fast becoming a priority global health issue given its significant adverse contribution to maternal and newborn child health and the global NCD epidemic.
FIGO calls for countries to screen all women in the first trimester, integrating pre-eclampsia risk assessment as an integral part of basic first trimester evaluation protocol.
Many countries do not screen for preterm pre-eclampsia in pregnancy, or rely only on maternal risk factors. All pregnant women should be screened for preterm pre-eclampsia by:
- first-trimester combined test with maternal risk factors
- mean arterial pressure
- uterine artery pulsatility index
- placental growth factor as a one-step procedure.
Where resources are limited, maternal risk factors and MAP should be done in all pregnancies.
Downloadable Assets for Social Media
New @FIGOHQ guidelines launched in @IJGOLive calling for universal screening of all women for pre-eclampsia in first trimester through early #antenatal care #maternalhealth #newbornsurvival #HealthforAll #WHA72 http://ow.ly/NMhW50ulaJ8 #WorldPreEclampsiaDay
Critical new guidelines from @FIGOHQ to tackle pre-eclampsia in #pregnancy are now available. Another tool in the fight against the rising tide of #NCDs #maternalmortality http://ow.ly/NMhW50ulaJ8 #WorldPreEclampsiaDay #WHA72
Countries should implement best practice screening – using a combination of #maternal risk factors and biomarkers – to reduce #maternalmortality. Check out new @FIGOHQ pre-eclampsia guidelines http://ow.ly/GZmq50ulabe #WorldPreEclampsiaDay
Women in low-middle income countries are at high risk of developing pre-eclampsia. It's time to tackle this global #maternalhealth issue. Take a look at @FIGOHQ new guidelines www.figo.org/preeclampsia-guidelines #WorldPreEclampsiaDay #WHA72
Pre-eclampsia in #pregnancy leads to greater risk of #NCDs in the long-term for both mother and baby. New @FIGOHQ guidelines will help tackle this global #health issue www.figo.org/preeclampsia-guidelines #WorldPreEclampsiaDay
Messaging for Advocacy Asks
Hypertension and pre-eclampsia (HAP) is a global health issue. If SDG3 is to be achieved, we must prioritise functioning maternal health services, including available and convenient antenatal services for all women, and put greater attention on the link between maternal health and NCDs.
Ask your leaders to:
- invest in skill development for primary health care providers on risk assessment, counselling, ensuring aspirin availability, adherence to drug treatment and comprehensive follow up
- call for comprehensive early antenatal visits for all women that integrates universal screening for preterm pre-eclampsia using a combination of maternal risk factors.
Messaging for media statements
HAP is fast becoming a priority global health issue given its significant adverse contribution to maternal and newborn child health and the global non-communicable disease (NCD) epidemic.
It’s a life threatening condition that can lead to complications for both mother and baby and increased risk of longer term NCDs, including obesity, heart disease and stroke.
Pre-eclampsia is predictable and preventable with early antenatal care and comprehensive screening practices in the first trimester.
Pregnancy offers a window of opportunity for improving maternal and newborn child health and preventing transmission of non-communicable diseases.
Removal of barriers to early antenatal visits for all women, alongside a push to ensure comprehensive skill development of primary health care providers is critical.
FIGO encourages all countries and its member associations to adapt and promote strategies to improve access to prenatal services and encourage early booking that incorporates screening for pre term pre-eclampsia by the first trimester combined test.
A comprehensive universal health system approach, that prioritises provider education, consistent adherence to clinical guidelines and improvement in referral pathways, alongside, efforts to strengthen the workforce, the availability of essential drugs, information systems and governance and financing, will all support improvements in screening and prevention of pre-eclampsia.
Join us and help prevent the devastating effects of this pregnancy complication, reducing the burden of NCDs for mothers and their children in the long-term.
Identifying a high-risk pregnancy can be life-saving
Silke Mader, Chair of the EFCNI Executive Board, shares her story:
Unfortunately, my severe form of pre-eclampsia was detected way too late – with fatal consequences. My twins had to be delivered via an emergency C-section in gestational week 25. Due to this late diagnosis and emergency surgery, my own life was at stake, we lost our daughter Lena and our son Lukas survived, but was hospitalised for months. Before that, I was not aware of a condition called pre-eclampsia, nor how dangerous it could be for both, the pregnant woman and her unborn baby.
I wish I had been better informed so I could have noticed subtle warning signs like high blood pressure for instance. I also did not know that a look into my family history and my own medical history could have been helpful to identify me as a high-risk patient. Today, I know that there are hints and signs that could be possible symptoms. Identifying a high-risk pregnancy timely can be life-saving.