Patient journey during and after a pre-eclampsia-complicated pregnancy: a cross-sectional patient registry study

BMJ Open. 2022 Mar 3;12(3):e057795. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-057795.


Objectives: To gain insight into the patient journey through a pre-eclampsia-complicated pregnancy.

Design: Cross-sectional patient registry study.

Setting: Online patient registry initiated by the Preeclampsia Foundation.

Participants: Women with a history of pre-eclampsia enrolled in The Preeclampsia Registry (TPR).

Primary and secondary outcome measures: Retrospective patient-reported experience measures concerning awareness of pre-eclampsia, timing and type of information on pre-eclampsia received, involvement in decision making regarding medical care, mental/emotional impact of the pre-eclampsia-complicated pregnancy and impact on future pregnancy planning.

Results: Of 3618 TPR-participants invited to complete the Patient Journey questionnaire, data from 833 (23%) responders were available for analysis. Most responders were white (n=795, 95.4%) and lived in the USA (n=728, 87.4%). Before their pre-eclampsia diagnosis, 599 (73.9%) responders were aware of the term 'pre-eclampsia', but only 348 (43.7%) were aware of its associated symptoms. Women with a lower level of education were less likely to have heard of pre-eclampsia (OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.62). Around the time of diagnosis, 29.2% of responders did not feel involved in the decision making, which was associated with reporting a serious mental/emotional impact of the pre-eclampsia experience (OR 2.46, 95% CI 1.58 to 3.84). Over time, there was an increase in the proportion of women who were aware of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia (32.2% before 2011 to 52.5% after 2016; p<0.001) and in the proportion of responders stating they received counselling about the later-life health risks associated with pre-eclampsia (14.2% before 2011 to 25.6% after 2016; p=0.005).

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that improved patient education regarding pre-eclampsia is needed, that shared decision making is of great importance to patients to enhance their healthcare experience, and that healthcare providers should make efforts to routinely incorporate counselling about the later-life health risks associated with pre-eclampsia.

Trial registration number: NCT02020174.

Keywords: hypertension; maternal medicine; mental health; quality in health care.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Counseling
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pre-Eclampsia* / diagnosis
  • Pre-Eclampsia* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies

Associated data