If this headline surprises you, you're not alone. Preeclampsia, a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine, is commonly thought to only occur during pregnancy. That's not that case. This condition can occur up to six weeks postpartum. According to a recent survey from the Preeclampsia Foundation and BabyCenter, 44 percent of women are unaware of their postpartum risk.
This shouldn't be taken lightly. Preeclampsia affects 1 of every 12 pregnancies, and, globally, it and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death. By conservative estimates, these disorders are responsible for 76,000 maternal deaths and 500,000 infant deaths each year.