Many women who develop severe pre-eclampsia during pregnancy have undetected high blood pressure in the year after they give birth, a Dutch study contends.
Preeclampsia, which is the development of high blood pressure and elevated protein in the urine during pregnancy, occurs in 3 to 5 percent of pregnancies in developed nations. Left untreated, it can pose serious dangers to both mother and fetus.
Recent research has shown that women with preeclampsia are more likely to have high blood pressure after pregnancy, according to the researchers.
“The problem is high blood pressure after pregnancy often goes unnoticed because many of these women have normal blood pressure readings in the doctor’s office,” said study author Dr. Laura Benschop. She’s a researcher in obstetrics and gynecology at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
“We aimed to determine how common it is for women who have preeclampsia to have high blood pressure in the year after pregnancy, by looking at more than just their blood pressure readings in the doctor’s office,” Benschop explained.
Women with severe preeclampsia face more than future high blood pressure: They are up to seven times more likely to develop heart disease later in life than those with normal blood pressure during pregnancy, the researchers said.
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