Hear Her, a campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is raising awareness for pregnancy and postpartum complications.
According to the CDC, 700 women die annually due to complications from pregnancy. The Hear Her campaign is spreading awareness of the warning signs of these complications, which can occur up to one year after delivery.
The campaign highlights warning signs like constant headache, vision changes, swelling in the face and chest tightness that could lead to complications or death. It also emphasizes that a woman’s partner, friends and doctor should be aware of these symptoms and listen to the woman’s concerns.
Hear Her also gathered stories from women who suffered from these complications. Many of these women experienced unusual pain or other symptoms during pregnancy that friends or doctors brushed off as normal.
These women were lucky enough to keep pushing for their treatment or to find an advocate for them and were able to get their conditions treated, but not every woman has that.
Pregnancy and postpartum complications can range from preeclampsia to extremely high blood pressure to an abscess.
“There’s no little questions when it comes to your own care,” one woman said in the campaign videos.
The campaign provides resources for pregnant women, their partners, friends and family and their healthcare providers.
Partners, friends and family are encouraged to know urgent maternal signs. They should also encourage their partner or friend to seek care if something doesn’t feel right and accompany her to the doctor or take notes during the appointment, if needed.
Hear Her also provides a conversation guide to help women describe their symptoms to healthcare providers and questions they should ask to get the proper care like, “What could these symptoms mean?” or “Is there a test I can have to rule out a serious problem?”
The campaign was developed by the CDC in partnership with Merck’s maternal health effort, Merck for Mothers.