This post is shared in partnership with Martin Pringle Attorneys at Law, who is a proud local sponsor of American Heart Association Go Red for Women.
Cardiovascular Disease, Maternal Health & Stroke Awareness
May is Women’s Health Month and National Stroke Awareness Month. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of women in the United States and CVD continues to be the leading cause of maternal death.
CVD during pregnancy leaves women with a higher lifetime risk of CVD after delivery and an increased risk for their children. Women also face a higher risk of stroke and that can increase even more depending on personal risk factors like ethnicity, smoking and existing medical conditions.
Black women have the highest prevalence of heart disease and stroke when compared to women of other ethnicities.
One Wichita Mom’s Experience
Delania Taylor is sharing her experience with preeclampsia and high blood pressure in hopes of encouraging others to pay close attention to their health during pregnancy.
While she was pregnant with her son in 2012, Taylor said she was diagnosed with preeclampsia and gave birth at 35 weeks because of complications from it.
Preeclampsia in Pregnancy
Preeclampsia is a serious medical condition of high blood pressure that can occur halfway through pregnancy. People with preeclampsia can also experience protein in their urine, swelling, headaches and blurred vision.
Stroke research through the American Heart Association found that stroke risk increases in women who have preeclampsia and can also double stroke risk later in life.
During Taylor’s last pregnancy in 2013, Taylor said doctors were paying close attention to her blood pressure but said there were no concerns until the last several weeks of her pregnancy. She started to feel unwell, even though she was on blood pressure medicine, cut out caffeine and tried to maintain a healthy diet.
A New Challenge: CHD
Doctors told Taylor that her new baby girl was born with a congenital heart defect (CHD).
“I didn’t comprehend a lot of it because so much was going on,” said Taylor. “There were such big words when [doctors] described the diagnosis. I fell to the ground and was devastated because I did everything I was supposed to. I felt like it wasn’t fair.”
Taylor said none of the anatomy scans or checkups during her pregnancy showed her daughter’s heart defect, which is why the diagnosis was such a surprise to her family.
“The doctors told me that if I wouldn’t have come in, [Addy] would’ve died because of her heart condition,” said Taylor.
After delivery, both Taylor and her daughter spent time in the hospital recovering, and Addy had her first open heart surgery in September of 2013. She had her second open heart surgery in March of 2019 and since then, has flourished.
Today, Addy is a cheerleader and focuses on participating in American Heart Association events with her mom to help raise awareness for CHD and maternal health risks with her mom. Taylor says Addy will have to have another open-heart surgery in the next three or four years, but she knows her “warrior princess” can get through it.
Through it all, Taylor said she hopes to inspire other families to keep fighting and never give up. She encourages not only pregnant women, but everyone to pay close attention to their health and risk factors.
Go Red for Women on September 28, 2023
Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association signature initiative to raise awareness that heart disease is women’s greatest health threat. The movement also empowers women to take action to lower their risk.
The Wichita Go Red for Women event is on Thursday, September 28, 2023 at the Vail. This year’s chair is Amanda Marino. Marino advocates for maternal health and is an adoption and surrogacy attorney for Martin Pringle Law Firm.
“I was honored to be asked to be a part of Go Red for Women,” said Marino. “My platform is maternal health and inequities in health relating specifically to maternal health. The American Heart Association is important to me, and I think as a mom, we tend to put ourselves on the back burner. We don’t always put our health first.”
Marino said her legal experience has played a role in inspiring her passion for raising awareness for maternal health.
“As an adoption attorney, that speaks to me,” said Marino. “It’s an opportunity to promote awareness and find a way to give to back to the community.”
For more information about tickets or the Go Red for Women initiative, visit Heart.org/WichitaGoRed.
Addy and her family will be featured at the American Heart Association Wichita Heart Walk at Riverfront Stadium on June 24.