The birth of a child should be one of the happiest days of a woman’s life – not the scariest. However that is exactly what happened to Jennifer Albert, a new Mom who nearly died while giving birth to her first child last year.
When Jennifer became pregnant, she ate well, exercised and visited her doctor regularly. She and her husband were excited to welcome their first child. But Jennifer suffered from major complications while giving birth, and what should have been a day of only joy turned into an emotional roller coaster.
Approximately one week after her due date, doctors noticed that Jennifer’s amniotic fluid had increased, and her unborn baby’s heart rate had dropped dramatically. Doctors decided to inducer her labor in order to keep her and the baby safe, yet during the delivery Jennifer lost a lot of blood and required a total of 17 blood transfusions. It was a miracle that she survived.
In a recent interview with Jennifer, she shared with me how traumatic the experience was for her and her husband, and how helpless she felt as the days and nights went by during her road to recovery. She also told me how it was the unwavering love and support of her husband, health care providers, family, friends, and community that kept her encouraged and positive during the times when she felt her worst. She said it was this encouragement that motivated her to come forward and share her personal story with the world in hopes to educate others.
Jennifer experienced what no mother should go through. Yet the unfortunate truth is that complications during pregnancy and childbirth occur all too often. In fact, thousands of women in the United States each year (more than 60,000) nearly lose their lives while carrying or delivering a child. Every 10 minutes, a woman in the U.S. nearly dies from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Some maternal complications like convulsions from high blood pressure can even occur well after delivery and have long-lasting implications.
In the U.S., three of the leading causes of maternal death are preeclampsia (severe high blood pressure), embolism (pulmonary blood clot) and post-partum hemorrhage (severe bleeding). Together, the first letters of these three causes spell “PEP.”
Most of these complications and the deaths that could result from them are preventable. That is why Merck for Mothers is encouraging anyone pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant – and their family members – to have a “PEP Talk” about these potential pregnancy complications. They also want for more women to be more open about sharing their childbirth stories. Any woman can be at risk for childbirth complications, and a simple conversation could help to provide life-saving information.
No woman should ever risk their life to give life. It is very important for any woman who is pregnant or is thinking about becoming pregnant to talk to their doctors and health care professionals—and even other women—about risk factors and potential complications of pregnancy and childbirth and their warning signs.
In our world, childbirth complications and maternal mortality should be nonexistent. Jennifer’s story is a testament to how beneficial having a Merck for Mothers PEP Talk can be.
You can help raise awareness about maternal mortality by pledging to tell someone you love to have a “PEP Talk” with their healthcare professional about leading pregnancy complications. Take the pledge on MerckforMothers.com. You can also learn more about Merck for Mothers on Facebook and Twitter.