Newly Diagnosed Postpartum Hypertension Rates, Risks in Women
After childbirth, about one in 10 women who did not have hypertension before pregnancy are diagnosed with hypertension in the year after giving birth, according to a recent study.1
“The findings of our study have implications for postpartum care, particularly among women without a history of high blood pressure,” said lead study author Samantha Parker, PhD, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health, in a press release.2
Parker and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of deliveries from 2016 to 2018 (n = 3925). The researchers examined patients without a history of hypertension. Measures during pregnancy through 12 months postpartum were obtained from medical records. A new diagnosis of hypertension was defined by researchers as two separate blood pressure (BP) readings with systolic BP ≥ 140 mmHg and diastolic BP ≥ 90 mmHG at least 48 hours after delivery.
The researchers used data from 2465 patients and found that 12.1% of patients (n = 298) developed hypertension postpartum. Further, about 17.1% (n = 51) of patients developed severe hypertension (BP ≥160 and diastolic BP ≥110).
Patients who were aged 35 years and older, delivered their babies via cesarean, or were current or former smokers were at high risk of developing hypertension compared to patients without newly developed postpartum hypertension. If patients had all three characteristics, they had a 29% risk of developing hypertension postpartum.
Additionally, the researchers found that 22% of patients were diagnosed more than 6 weeks post-delivery.
“We were surprised at the number of cases captured more than 6 weeks after delivery, a period that falls well outside of routine postpartum follow-up,” Dr Parker said in a press release. “Monitoring during this period could mitigate severe postpartum and long-term cardiovascular complications.”
- Parker SE, Ajayi A, Yarrington CD. De novo postpartum hypertension: incidence and risk factors at a safety-net hospital. Hypertension. Published online November 15, 2022. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.122.19275
- Limited postpartum follow-up may miss high blood pressure in 1 in 10 new moms. News release. American Heart Association; November 15, 2022. Accessed November 17, 2022. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/limited-postpartum-follow-up-may-miss-high-blood-pressure-in-1-in-10-new-moms