Health

Pregnancy study: Cases of high blood pressure during pregnancy have increased dramatically, study finds

A new study finds an alarming rise in high blood pressure among American women during pregnancy. It can be dangerous for both moms and their babies.

Chanelle Bradley is pregnant with her second child and is hoping medication will control her high blood pressure. 
 
“They don’t want me to get too high so just as a precaution they’re going to induce early before I even get to that super high scary point,” Bradley said.
 
She developed hypertension during her first pregnancy, which caused her to deliver six weeks early. Her baby was 3 pounds, 6 ounces and stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit for three weeks.

Monday’s study, authored by Dr. Cande Ananth of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, finds a huge spike in high blood pressure cases during pregnancy, increasing 13 fold over the past 40 years. Researchers defined high blood pressure as 140 over 90 or higher. African American women were twice as likely to have high blood pressure as white women.

High blood pressure raises the risk of complications such as stroke, kidney failure, and stillborn or infant death.
 
Dr. Amy Stoddard of UCLA Health said age is a factor in the rising rate of hypertension during pregnancy.

“One of the main things we can attribute that to is older age in pregnancy. Women are waiting longer to have their first baby,” Stoddard said.

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