Exmouth midwife and her cousin take on marathon challenge for pre-eclampsia charity

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 February 2020

Laura and Fraser in Neonatal Unit. Picture: Laura Doolan

Laura and Fraser in Neonatal Unit. Picture: Laura Doolan


Two Exmouth women will be running the London Marathon for Action on Pre-eclampsia.

Laura and Fraser in Neonatal UnitLaura and Fraser in Neonatal Unit

Exmouth midwife and former sufferer of pre-eclampsia, Laura Doolan, will be taking on the mighty London Marathon in April for a charity that is close to her heart.

Laura will be testing her endurance levels in the company of her super-fit cousin, Sarah Strode, also from Exmouth, who works at the personalised clothing company, ShipShape.

Both women are already getting well prepared for the epic 26.2 mile run through the streets of the capital, by participating in local events.

Laura said: "Although Sarah has been running for many years, I only started recently. Last year I was thrilled to have completed the Great West Run".


The training involved for the ambitious run is a marathon in itself. Lengthy and frequent runs are alternated with gruelling boot camps, and a few rewarding sports massages in between.

With the days counting down to the big event in April, Laura and Sarah are feeling a mixture of emotions: "We are both very nervous but excited to be running the marathon".

She added: "The London Marathon is something we both wanted to do and we're very lucky to represent Action on Pre-Eclampsia whilst doing it".

Well placed to discuss the risks of pre-eclampsia, Laura has been a midwife for nearly 10 years.


She spent seven years of that time as a community midwife in Exmouth, and is now based in Exeter where she works at the birth centre and triage.

However, Laura has also had first-hand experience of the potentially life-threatening condition throughout both of her pregnancies.

Due to careful monitoring, she safely gave birth to her two healthy boys, Rory who is now aged five, and Fraser, aged three.

Rory and Fraser were delivered via an emergency caesarean section (C-section) and spent their first few days of life in the neonatal unit.

Both boys had a low birth weight as the pre-eclampsia prevented the placenta from functioning properly.

Laura said: "I am very lucky as my pre-eclampsia was mild and it was picked up very quickly by the wonderful Exmouth community midwives.

"In particular, I'd like to mention Julia Burston, from the obstetric team and Tracey Kay, the obstetrician, who made sure I was safe."

She continued: "Sadly, I have seen babies die from pre-eclampsia and have seen some mother's fight for their lives because of it".

And it is for this reason why the two of them are running for Action on Pre-eclampsia (APEC), a charity that raises awareness of the dangers of this medical condition that affects some women during pregnancy or soon after their baby is delivered.

Early signs of pre-eclampsia include having high blood pressure and protein in the urine, which are usually picked up during routine antenatal appointments. Some further symptoms can develop such as swollen feet, ankles, face and hands, problems with vision or a severe headache.

Untreated, it can be a life-threatening condition.

In fact, worldwide the figures are stark. An especially depressing statistic shows that, somewhere in the world, a woman dies as a result of pre-eclampsia every six minutes.

Yet, by being forearmed with knowledge coupled with observant medical help, the condition is highly treatable.

APEC runs a helpline for anyone affected by pre-eclampsia - be they pregnant women or family members concerned about the condition.

The charity also educates midwives and health professionals on ways to detect and manage pre-eclampsia, and facilitates a unique expert referral service, whereby women can be referred by their GPs to an expert on pre-eclampsia in their area.

For further information, see https://action-on-pre-eclampsia.org.uk or call the helpline on 01386 761 848

For local help, anyone showing any symptoms should seek midwifery advice via the community midwife or Exeter triage on 01392 406616

To help Laura with her fundraising, with either a cash donation or raffle prize, visit Laura's Just Giving page https://justgiving.com/fundraising/Laura-Doolan5.

Any donations will be gratefully received.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Exmouth Journal. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Exmouth Journal