Study finds alarming increase in pregnancy high blood pressure

A recent study from Northwestern Medicine found the incidence of high blood pressure disorders amongst pregnant individuals more than doubled from 2007 to 2019, rising from 38 to 78 per 1,000 live births. Not only has the incidence increased, but the rate of increase has also accelerated, with annual growth increasing from 4% between 2007 and 2014 to 9% between 2014 and 2019. The increase was close to uniform across ages, races and ethnicities. Further study is needed to determine the cause, but important contributors may include worsening pre-pregnancy cardiac health, poor diet, suboptimal perinatal care and potentially increased detection, said lead author Priya Freaney, MD. Presently, around one in five births results in low birth weight, preterm delivery and/or a hypertensive disorder. (Northwestern Now article, 5/19/22)