Wayne Memorial to Mark Maternal Health Awareness Day January 23

(Honesdale, January 16, 2020)…Giving birth is a joyous experience, but every women’s healthcare provider knows to look for warning signs of trouble. On January 23rd, Maternal Health Awareness Day, Wayne Memorial’s New Beginnings Birthing Suites staff and the providers of the Women’s Health Center, part of Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers, will have an information display in the pedestrian concourse at the hospital to help women recognize symptoms that could pose a threat to them or their baby – during pregnancy or in the first few weeks afterwards, known as the “4th Trimester.”

“We want women in their child-bearing years to know and understand conditions like preeclampsia and post-partum depression,” said Janice Pettinato, RN, New Beginnings clinical coordinator.

Preeclampsia is a very serious pregnancy complication that can appear suddenly, usually after 20 weeks of pregnancy or in the first six weeks afterwards. It’s characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys. Preeclampsia affects about 6% of all pregnancies and is a leading cause of both maternal and infant mortality. Signs of preeclampsia include swelling of the face, eyes and hands, difficulty breathing, a headache that won’t go away and changes in vision.

Pettinato noted that the most common complications in pregnancy and post-birth are depression and anxiety—affecting one in seven women.

“If a woman has any warning signs during or after pregnancy of depression, such as thoughts of hurting herself, or medical symptoms like excessive bleeding or seizures, they should get help immediately,” she said.

The General Assembly of Pennsylvania declared January 23rd Maternal Health Awareness Day in view of a sobering fact: the number of pregnancy deaths in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control,  has risen almost every year since 1987, from a low of 7.2 deaths per 100,000  live births that year to 16.9 in 2016.

“One of the most important ways a women can protect herself, said Pettinato, “is to attend all her prenatal and postnatal appointments. She doesn’t need to be the only one looking after herself and asking herself if this is normal. We’re here to help.”

New Beginnings’ staff help birth approximately 450 babies a year. The Women’s Health Center offers obstetric and gynecological care with physicians and nurse midwives. To find out more visit wmh.org/giving birth.

Photo l. to r. holding a poster about post-birth warning signs: Brittany Kimble, RN, IBCLC; Kara Poremba, RN; Nicole Hartung, WMH Social Services; Eric Rittenhouse, MD/Obstetrician-Gynecologist; Janice Pettinato, RN; Lori Shipsky, MD/Pediatric Hospitalist; Alexander Pinsky, MD/Pediatrician.

Flyers for posting about this article, important information for women:

Post-BirthWarning Signs


Preeclampsia Awareness Facts


Symptoms, depression and anxiety