WOMEN’S HEALTH

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Elevated Blood Pressure Before Pregnancy May Increase Chance of Pregnancy Loss

 

According to a study published in the journal Hypertension (2 April 2018), elevated blood pressure before conception may increase the chances for pregnancy loss. According to the authors, lifestyle changes to keep blood pressure under control could potentially reduce the risk of loss. T. The analysis found that for every 10 mmHg increase in diastolic blood pressure (pressure when the heart is resting between beats), there was an 18% higher risk for pregnancy loss among the study population. Millimeter of mercury, or mmHg, is the unit of measure used for blood pressure. The authors also found a 17% increase in pregnancy loss for every 10 mmHg increase in mean arterial pressure, a measure of the average pressure in the arteries during full heart beat cycles.

 

The authors analyzed data collected as part of theĀ Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction (EAGeR) trial, which sought to determine if daily low-dose aspirin (81 milligrams) could prevent miscarriage in women who had a history of pregnancy loss. The trial enrolled more than 1,200 women ages 18 to 40 years and took blood pressure readings before the women were pregnant and again in the fourth week of pregnancy. Average diastolic blood pressure for the women in the study was 72.5 mmHg; normal blood pressure in adults is a diastolic reading of below 80 mmHg. The authors began to see an increase in pregnancy loss among women who had a diastolic reading above 80 mmHg (approximately 25% of the participants). None of the women in the study had stage II high blood pressure (above 90 mmHg in diastolic high blood pressure or above 140 mmHg in systolic blood pressure).

 

The authors cautioned that the study does not prove that elevated blood pressure causes pregnancy loss. It is possible that another, yet-to-be identified factor could account for the findings. They added, however, that the relationship between preconception blood pressure and pregnancy loss remained the same when they statistically accounted for other factors that could increase pregnancy loss, such as increasing maternal age, higher body mass index or smoking.

 

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