Peer Reviewed

Stroke and Pregnancy

Hypertension During Pregnancy Is Linked to Stroke Risk in Offspring

High blood pressure or preeclampsia during pregnancy may increase later risk of stroke in offspring, according to the results of a recent study presented at European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Heart & Stroke 2021.

To further explore the relationship between hypertensive disorders during pregnancy and severe cardiovascular disease, the researchers conducted a population-based cohort study including 5.8 million singleton children, born in Sweden from 1973 to 2014, and Finland from 1987 to 2014.

The researchers adjusted for confounding factors including the child’s year of birth, sex, congenital anomalies, mother’s age, parity, marital status, education level, body mass index, smoking during early pregnancy, and family history of cardiovascular disease. Sibling analyses were conducted to account for potential genetic and environmental familial factors.

Overall, 3.76% (n = 218,322) of single children were born to mothers who had hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. Of these children, 0.04% (n = 2340) were diagnosed with ischemic heart disease and 0.09% (5360) were diagnosed with stroke over the 41-year follow-up period.

In addition, independent of preterm birth and fetal growth restriction, these offspring had a 29% increased risk of ischemic heart disease and 33% increased risk of stroke. This association was consistent for stroke but not ischemic heart disease in the sibling analyses.

“The sibling analyses suggest that shared genetic or environmental factors were the main contributors to the association between hypertensive pregnancy disorders and the risk of ischemic heart disease,” the researchers concluded. “However, the increased risk of stroke persisted, indicating the possibility of direct intrauterine effects.”


—Leigh Precopio



Hypertension during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of stroke in offspring. News release. European Society of Cardiology; June 1, 2021. Accessed June 1, 2021.,birth%20and%20foetal%20growth%20restriction