Understanding Pre-eclampsia A guide for parents and health professionals by Joyce Cowan, Professor Chris Redman and Isabel Walker

02 December 2017
Volume 25 · Issue 12

While pre-eclampsia is a fairly common condition, it nevertheless requires accurate and prompt diagnosis, monitoring and treatment. In the UK, approximately 5% of women are affected by the condition to varying degrees, with potential for severe morbidity and mortality, for both mother and baby. Supporting women through a diagnosis of pre-eclampsia requires sensitive and accurate information sharing, as well as the involvement of women and families in their own care.

This book from the founder of Action on Pre-eclampsia (APEC), Isabel Walker; midwife and New Zealand APEC founder, Joyce Cowan; and Emeritus Professor of Obstetric Medicine, Chris Redman, aims to give health professionals and women with pre-eclampsia answers to common questions regarding its aetiology, diagnosis and treatment. The book does not profess to be a textbook on pre-eclampsia, but instead is a useful starting point, particularly for women, student midwives, and medics. The pathophysiology of pre-eclampsia is an evolving science, but this book gives an excellent overview of the aetiology of the condition, although I was surprised to see placenta abruption being described as ‘bleeding into the placenta’—such a serious complication would perhaps have merited a more detailed and accurate definition and list of symptoms. Its usefulness for qualified midwives is, in my opinion, limited, given that I would expect even a newly qualified midwife to be familiar with such a common condition. The authors explain their reasoning for excluding in-text referencing, which seems appropriate for the audience; however, there is a disconcerting number of statistics used without a reference. While this gives women helpful information on their condition, this limits its usefulness for health professionals, and it would be difficult to use the book as a source of evidence for advice.

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