Study finds increased high blood pressure cases during pregnancy

High blood pressure among older pregnant US women up by 75

High blood pressure among older pregnant US women up by 75

Overall, the researchers found that nearly 1 million (0.63%) women in the study experienced chronic high blood pressure during their pregnancy, and the rate increased sharply with the mother's age and year of delivery, shooting up from 0.11% in 1970 to 1.52% in 2010-over a 13-fold increase over the past four decades.

According to the results of the study, cognition scores dropped over the four-year study period, and participants aged 55 and older who had high blood pressure exhibited a faster rate of cognitive decline when juxtaposed with participants without high blood pressure.

For the study in Hypertension, researchers looked at the pregnancies of more than 151 million women in the United States between 1970-2010. The researchers used a lower measurement - 140/90 - than the 130/80 benchmark that now brings a high blood pressure diagnosis.

The researchers utilized data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS) to determine blood pressure trends among pregnant women between 1970 and 2010. Instead, advancing maternal age and year of delivery were factors strongly associated with increasing trends. The rate of hypertension increased, on average, by 6% per year, 13 times what it was in 1970.

The study also discovered a substantial disparity between white and black expectant mothers.

"Women who already have high blood pressure and are planning to become pregnant should work closely with their health care provider to closely monitor and manage their blood pressure, especially during pregnancy, to reduce the serious health risks to both themselves and their unborn child", lead researcher Cande V. Ananth, who is a professor and chief of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, said in a statement.

Prior research has shown that compared with white women, black women have higher rates of obesity, are more likely to smoke and use drugs and are at greater social disadvantage, all of which may contribute to an increased risk of chronic hypertension.

Chanelle Bradley is pregnant with her second child and is hoping medication will control her high blood pressure.

Ananth noted that as the increasing age of pregnant women will probably not change, then women can change various lifestyle factors to help to modify their risk hypertension, which can help prevent possible adverse outcomes in pregnancy.

New research reveals a big increase in high blood pressure among pregnant women, and the condition can pose a major health risk for both mom and baby.

Reducing obesity, quitting smoking, adopting an overall healthier lifestyle before and during pregnancy, and treating high blood pressure effectively to control hypertension before becoming pregnant could offer the best outcome, researchers say. African American women were twice as likely to have high blood pressure as white women.

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