High blood pressure during pregnancy is on the rise

A woman who is pregnant monitors her blood pressure at home.

Complications related to having high blood pressure during pregnancy are on the rise, according to NHLBI-supported research published in JAMA Network Open.

After reviewing data from 38 million people who gave birth between 1995 and 2019, researchers found that individuals born in the 1990s and 2000s, who are in their 20s and 30s today, were twice as likely to have a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy compared to women born in the 1950s. Pregnancy complications related to high blood pressure, such as gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and eclampsia, currently affect 8% of individuals giving birth.

Researchers also noted persistent racial and ethnic disparities throughout the study. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy disproportionately affected American Indian or Alaska Natives and Black individuals. Therefore, the authors recommend public health efforts aimed at equitably increasing awareness about and preventing hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, especially among younger adults.