Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that develops during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Symptoms are subtle so women are often unaware of the developing complication unless they attend regular prenatal care checkups. Preeclampsia is straightforward to manage, but left undiagnosed the complication becomes eclampsia, which involves organ failure and seizure activity resulting in serious or fatal health effects for both mother and unborn child.


leading cause of maternal mortalities world wide


of maternal mortalities occur in low and middle-income countries


women die each day globally due to pregnancy and childbirth complications



Imagine Joan. Joan is a woman living Kotido, a district in Northern Uganda. She is carrying her first child and just returned home from the hospital where she had her first and only prenatal care visit. Several months pass by and Joan experiences rapid weight gain, abdominal pain, headaches and vomiting. The women in her family tell Joan that these are normal signs of pregnancy and not to worry. The closest clinic is hours away by bus and would require taking another day off of work, so Joan agrees that her symptoms are probably nothing to worry about and continues normally without seeing a doctor. One morning Joan’s vision becomes blurred and begins having seizures. Her family rushes her to the nearest clinic where Joan is diagnosed with eclampsia. The doctors are forced to deliver Joan’s baby prematurely to try and save Joan’s life, and the baby fights for survival with underdeveloped lungs and no access to a neonatal mechanical ventilator.

In Uganda, the average woman attends one prenatal care visit when she first realizes she is pregnant and does not return to receive health care until it is time for her to give birth or she is experiencing severe health problems. Unfortunately, Joan’s experience is not unique to her or to women in Uganda; this story is the reality for women across sub-Saharan Africa and in low-resource countries around the world. Without adequate prenatal care screenings, one of the most necessary and natural parts of life can turn into a traumatic and dangerous experience.


babies die each year due to preeclampsia


women die each year due to preeclampsia


Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that develops during the last 20 weeks of their pregnancy, and can result in serious or fatal complications for both mother and unborn child. Irregular formation of blood vessels in the placenta leads to this condition, which is characterized by hypertension and damage to the organs of the mother.

The ongoing mortality from preeclampsia and eclampsia exemplify the health disparity between high-income countries where women have access to adequate prenatal care and low-income countries where women routinely die from preventable causes.