Speaker: Melissa Krawecki, Managing Director , Preeclampsia Foundation of Canada
We often hear the statement, “I wish I knew…” What is the most common sentiment women and family members express in your region?
Melissa Krawecki: Hi, my name is Melissa Krawecki and I'm a managing director with Pre clampsia Foundation of Canada. I'm here to answer the questions. Today. We often hear the statement. I wish I knew what is the most common sentiment women and family members expressing in your region. I can openly say that as a survivor myself, I did not know enough about preeclampsia and I knew nothing of HELLP Syndrome. I was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome in an emergency room by an emergency doctor carrying a textbook. And after he left the room, my family opened their phones to Google what HELLP Syndrome was. I can openly say that I had understood that I needed to watch my blood pressure in pregnancy, but I did not know the risks and I did not know how deadly and dangerous this syndrome would be. It has been a very devastating disease on our life and I wish I had known that I would be susceptible to it during my first pregnancy and I did not
Women reported never hearing "preeclampsia" until the moment they were diagnosed. When have women learned about preeclampsia in your region?
Melissa Krawecki: Women in my region don't know about preeclampsia. We are fortunate enough to receive blood pressure monitoring through our pregnancy wellness checks. However, the majority of birthing individuals have not heard of the word preeclampsia, and it is not until diagnosis that that word becomes part of the vernacular, I will say, especially in regards to severe preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. There is no knowledge of that being a potentiality for individuals who are pregnant. I myself had no appreciation for what HELLP Syndrome was. It could be throughout, especially my first pregnancy. and it wasn't until my second pregnancy that I received the appropriate monitoring and support that I needed in order to have a pregnancy be successful. It is a very large concern that pre eclampsia is not seen as something that is serious. And rather, the majority of birthing people simply say, well, they check your blood pressure, but they don't understand why.
Do mothers in your region experience mental and emotional problems after preeclampsia? What is done for them or what do they do about it?
Melissa Krawecki: women in my region do experience mental and emotional problems After being diagnosed with pre eclampsia, it is something that is very common and often is heard when you are, when you have the good fortune of participating in Preeclampsia Foundation events where birthing individuals are able to really talk about the emotional and mental health impacts of being diagnosed with preeclampsia. I will say that particularly midwifery care is very supportive of birthing people's emotional and mental health needs in the postpartum period and are more able to address those concerns. However, obstetrical care, often times you simply don't have the same level of follow up or ability to be able to really discuss those issues and it falls on a primary care provider through a family doctor in regards to what is being done of them. I believe that midwifery care is really showing what is available and what is able to be done. And raising the rhetoric about preeclampsia is a really important part of discussing mental health and emotional impacts. I believe that the knowledge and understanding, particularly in the last 10 years of PTSD another trauma induced mental health issues is an important part of addressing the impact that preeclampsia has
Are the mothers in your region aware of preeclampsia's long term risks like heart disease? If so, what kind of care do they receive?
Melissa Krawecki: women in my region are not aware of the long term impacts and risks of preeclampsia. I myself, eight years after being diagnosed with preeclampsia attended my very first pre eclampsia Promise Walk. And as I was walking along the pathway, the organizers had set up posters on the wall and they had the risk factors of preeclampsia written very clearly on the posters and I stopped absolutely in my tracks and my jaw dropped. I had been in full support of midwifery obstetrical and family physician care since my experience with pre eclampsia and no one had told me the risk factors and the long term impacts that preeclampsia would have on my health and that that then fell on me to reach out to my primary care provider and say what screenings do we need to be doing? What routine do we need to be doing to ensure my health and wellness. In the long term, I was fortunate that I had a primary care provider I could reach out to and have that conversation with and begin to make sure that I was well taken care of. But truly as someone who works within the field and is well connected within the pre classic community. I myself didn't even know um the long term risks of preeclampsia, it is not something that is discussed and it is a very large concern for the women in our region
What is the most pressing patient need in your country related to preeclampsia?
Melissa Krawecki: the most pressing patient need in my country, related to pre eclampsia is awareness not only on the patient behalf, but also on the care provider behalf, that when a birthing person is attending office, having a high blood pressure, reading, experiencing symptoms that are of concern that they are taken seriously and that they are able to have their needs addressed. I think there is a breakdown in our country regarding the first diagnosis of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia can become very severe as those warning signs that birthing people are bringing forward and saying I'm concerned are not being met by the appropriate amount of concern in their care provider. So I think it is that advocacy relationship of the birthday person saying what they need and it being believed by their care provider as being one of the most pressing needs as well. I believe that there needs to be a greater voice as to the longer term impacts of preeclampsia, so that individuals who have had preeclampsia will have the ability to have their longer term risks managed appropriately by their physicians.