First-Time Pregnancy Complications Linked to Increased Risk of Hypertension as Soon as Three Years Post-Partum
Pregnancy history, prevention strategies may hold a key to improving longer-term health outcomes
Women who experience complications such as preterm births and preeclampsia during their first pregnancy are nearly twice more likely than women without complications to develop high blood pressure later in life — some as quickly as three years later, according to a recent study.
The researchers found that 31% of the women with at least one adverse outcome during their first pregnancy experienced chronic hypertension, while only 17% of those who did not experience complications developed this condition. The risk of developing chronic hypertension grows even higher with additional adverse outcomes.
Brian Mercer, MD, Chair, Obstetrics & Gynecology, The MetroHealth System, is the Principal Investigator for the MetroHealth site, and MetroHealth patients are participants in the study.
Researchers say their findings underscore the need for doctors to focus more aggressively on knowing the health histories of women — both during their pregnancies to help prevent adverse outcomes, and afterwards to flag their risks for future cardiovascular events. Dr. Mercer says “We want physicians to know that if their patients had any complication during pregnancy, their routine health care needs to include monitoring blood pressure, weight and cholesterol.”
The study of more than 4,000 women, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, was funded largely by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.
The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, two-thirds of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.
As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.
Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.
The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.
For more information, visit metrohealth.org.