Hypertensive disease of pregnancy is a group
of diseases which includes preeclampsia, eclampsia, gestational
hypertension and chronic hypertension.
In a study to be presented in the oral plenary
session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's
annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with University of
Utah Health Sciences Center, Intermountain Healthcare and the Huntsman
Cancer Institute (all in Salt Lake City, Utah), will present the study,
'Long-term mortality risk and life expectancy following recurrent
hypertensive disease of pregnancy'.
‘Women who have two or more pregnancies complicated by hypertensive disease of pregnancy have a higher risk for early mortality from several causes compared to women who only have one affected pregnancy.’
Researchers have long determined that pregnancy can provide insight
into future health. Because of the stress it puts on the body,
pregnancy may unmask an underlying predisposition to health problems.
The study looked at births from 1939 to 2012 using the Utah
Population Database. Using birth certificate data, researchers
determined the number of pregnancies affected by hypertensive disease of
pregnancy for each woman.
Primary cause of death was
determined from death certificates and mortality risk by primary cause
of death was compared between women with HDP and women without a history
In the study, the researchers found that women who have two or more
pregnancies complicated by hypertensive disease of pregnancy have a
higher risk for early mortality from several causes compared to women
who only have one affected pregnancy.
Existing recommendations for postpartum and prenatal care that may
prevent recurrent hypertensive disease of pregnancy include the use of
reliable contraception following delivery to prevent unintended
pregnancy and taking low-dose aspirin in subsequent pregnancies to
reduce recurrence risk.
Lauren Theilen, one of the primary researchers of the study and
the presenter of the research at the upcoming SMFM annual meeting,
explained, "Importantly, we are unable to say whether the hypertensive
disease of pregnancy plays a causal role here, but we feel that further
study is warranted to determine whether interventions such as early
screening for chronic disease may improve long-term health outcomes
among these women."