Sunday, April 08, 2018



Ottawa, ON – May is National Preeclampsia Awareness Month and the first ever Promise Walk for Preeclampsia in Ottawa will be held on May 6th at the TerryFox Athletic Facility (Mooney’s Bay). This is the second year that The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia™ is being held in Canada, though walks have been happening across the United States since 2005 through Preeclampsia Foundation Canada's affiliate organization, Preeclampsia Foundation. This year we’re hoping to bring in a minimum of $5000 in Ottawa for the Preeclampsia Foundation Canada.

The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia is more than a fundraiser. It is an event that will bring together a community of people who have been affected by preeclampsia, it will make connections and demonstrate the support of donors, sponsors, local media, community partners, and corporate sponsors, so those affected know that they are not alone. It is a place to honour those we have lost and to make real strides towards ending preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is a condition in pregnancy that can occur as early as 20 weeks gestation and is characterized by elevated blood pressure along with several other symptoms. If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications, even death, for mothers and their unborn child. It is the leading cause of maternal mortality in Canada and carries with it lifelong health repercussions, including twice the risk of stroke or heart attack in the years following birth.

“I was personally affected by preeclampsia twice,” notes Ottawa walk coordinator Christine McNair. “In November 2013, I was diagnosed with severe postpartum preeclampsia. And in April 2016, I had postpartum preeclampsia after the birth of my second daughter. I was fortunate to survive and to have two healthy daughters. (Thanks in large part to care from the Ottawa Midwifery Group and the Montfort Hospital). Many aren’t as lucky. This is why I am so passionate about raising funds towards much needed research and to raising awareness.”

Preeclampsia Foundation Canada is a non-profit charitable organization established in 2015. Their mission is to reduce maternal and infant illness and death due to preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy through patient education, public awareness and research.
About Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is a serious - and rather common - complication of pregnancy and postpartum period, dangerous to both the mother and her unborn baby. It is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Other signs and symptoms may include swelling of the face and hands, headaches, and visual disturbances.  Knowing the symptoms and reporting them immediately may lead to more timely diagnosis and better outcomes.

Together, we can achieve our vision of a world where preeclampsia no longer threatens the lives of mother and babies. Please help us make a life changing difference for women and their babies. 

CONTACT: Christine McNair, Walk Coordinator – Ottawa Promise Walk
email: or | phone: 613.697.5661
Ottawa Promise Walk registration: | Ottawa Promise Walk FB page:
Preeclampsia Foundation Canada:

Charity BN/Registration #82296 8566 RR0001

  • Preeclampsia affects 5-8% of all pregnancies globally.
  • Preeclampsia impacts 3-5% of all births in Canada.
  • Toxemia and Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) are outdated terms for preeclampsia.
  • HELLP Syndrome and Eclampsia are severe form of preeclampsia
  • Approx. 500,000 babies around the world will die each year from preeclampsia.
  • Preeclampsia occurs as early as 20 weeks gestation and up to 6 weeks postpartum.
  • Around the world, 10 million women will develop preeclampsia and 76,000 women will die from preeclampsia each year.
  • Preeclampsia doubles a woman's risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke in the next 5-15 years.
  • La prééclampsie double le risque, chez les femmes, de développer une maladie cardiaque ou d'avoir un AVC dans les 5 à 15 années qui suivent.

Signs and Symptoms of Preeclampsia
  • high blood pressure
  • proteinuria (protein in urine)
  • edema (swelling, particularly in the upper body -- face, eyes, arms, hands)
  • sudden weight gain of 5lbs a week or more 
  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting after mid-pregnancy
  • shortness of breath
  • abdominal and/or shoulder pain
  • changes in vision (blurry, seeing spots, flashing lights, loss of vision)
  • hyperreflexia - change in reflexes
  • Some women present no symptoms!

Signs and Symptoms of HELLP
  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • indigestion (pain after eating)
  • abdominal or chest tenderness on upper right side from liver pain
  • shoulder pain
  • changes in vision (blurry, seeing spots, flashing lights, loss of vision)
  • bleeding
  • edema (swelling, particularly in the upper body - face, eyes, arms, hands)
  • pain when taking deep breaths

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