A resolution sponsored by Assemblywomen Gabriela Mosquera, Pamela Lampitt and Carol Murphy permanently declaring the month of May as Preeclampsia Awareness Month was approved 73-0 Thursday by the full Assembly.
Preeclampsia is a life-threatening disorder of pregnancy and the postpartum period which is related to high blood pressure. The disorder tragically takes the lives of about 76,000 women and 500,000 infants a year globally.
“There have been great strides made in recent years to better understand the causes of preeclampsia and how we can treat and prevent it,” said Mosquera (D-Gloucester/Camden), who chairs the committee that released the resolution (AJR-82). “Ultimately, with an increased recognition of this terrible disorder, we will be able to save more and more lives every year.”
Preeclampsia affects about 5 to 8 percent of pregnancies and occurs after week 20 of pregnancy. Many women are at-risk of developing preeclampsia during pregnancy, most notably first-time mothers, women with previous experience of gestational hypertension, women carrying multiple babies and women with a history of high blood pressure or kidney disease, among others.
“Preeclampsia is a poorly understood diagnosis that many women struggle with,” said Lampitt (Camden/Burlington). “By raising awareness for this condition we can ensure that each year we make progress in discovering the causes and most effective treatment of this disorder.”
The symptoms of preeclampsia, which can range from high blood pressure to nausea and abdominal pain, can easily be mistaken for changes in a woman’s body that normally transpire during pregnancy, which makes the disorder all the more dangerous.
“Awareness is vital,” said Murphy (D-Burlington). “If we can make people more aware of the existence and severity of this disorder, more people will reach out for medical help, and we can make further strides in understanding what causes and how to effectively treat the condition.”
The Assembly Women and Children Committee approved the resolution in March. It will now go to the Senate for further consideration.