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World Pre-eclampsia Day

World Pre-eclampsia Day

act early! screen early!

May 22nd is World Pre-eclampsia Day. The Japan NICU Family Association (JOIN) will work with family associations in each country to tackle this issue toward a society where all women can lead a healthy and happy pregnancy and children and their families can live with peace of mind. Please support the "act early! screen early!" Campaign to raise awareness of this serious and high-risk pregnancy complication.

Note: This campaign originated from overseas. It is different from the current situation in Japan. In Japan, the inspections described on this page are not generally performed.

●Pre-eclampsia: symptoms, risk factors and risk assessment

The main symptoms for pre-eclampsia are elevated blood pressure and high protein levels in the urine. The condition can be very dangerous for both, mother and baby. Luckily, severe and early forms of pre-eclampisa (=<34 weeks’ gestation) are seldom. Regular antenatal care is however most important to enable the detection of the disease as early as possible.

Pre-eclampsia can develop into HELLP syndrome or eclampsia, with life-threatening complications for the mother ranging from organ damage to death if not treated quickly and competently. “HELLP” is an abbreviation for the three main symptoms of this syndrome: Haemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelet count.

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●What are the consequences for mother and baby?

Pre-eclampsia is one of the most common causes of preterm birth. It is also associated with a high risk of the baby being born too small and with a low birth weight, as the condition prevents the fetus from being adequately nourished and supplied with oxygen. There is a possibility that the baby may have problems with heart and circulatory conditions in later life.

●What are the risk factors?

A range of factors increase the risk of developing pre-eclampsia. These include

  • a first pregnancy   

  • a multiple pregnancy

  • pre-eclampsia or fetal growth restriction in a
    previous pregnancy or in the pregnancy of a relative

  • a pregnancy involving artificial insemination/egg donation

  • pre-existing high blood pressure

  • kidney disease

  • diabetes

  • overweight

  • higher maternal age

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●What can pregnant women do?

For pregnant women it is very important to keep every prenatal appointment.

Additionally, regular self-monitoring of the blood pressure should be undertaken.

 In case of becoming aware of potential specific warning signals such as headaches, impaired vision, rapid weight gain (more than 1 kg per week), marked water retention in the body or restlessness, a physician must be seen immediately.


●Monitoring and treatment of women with diagnosed pre-eclamspia

The only way to cure pre-eclampsia is to deliver the baby.  However, prolongation of pregnancy to avoid a preterm birth is sought for as long as it is safe for mother and baby. Thus, women with pre-eclampsia must always be monitored by an expert, sometimes in a hospital setting.

We hope that this campaign will help all women to have a healthy and happy pregnancy and a society where children and their families can live with peace of mind.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who supported the 2022 campaign.


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