Study Finds High Blood Pressure Among Pregnant Woman Increasing for Last 40 Years

A 40-year study found high blood pressure among pregnant women has steadily increased in the U.S. The study showed a 6% increase in high blood pressure during pregnancy every year since 1979.

According to the report, white women had a higher annual increase of 7%, but black women were twice as likely to have high blood pressure during pregnancy.

High blood pressure in pregnant women is dangerous for both the mother and the fetus. It increases the chances for preeclampsia, stroke, heart failure, heart muscle disease, kidney failure, stillbirth and death of the mother. The study’s author Cande Ananth noted that older mothers also have higher chances of chronic high blood pressure. 

Data was analyzed 151 million hospitals between 1970 and 2010, evaluating the rates of chronic high blood pressure of pregnant women aged 15-49.

The Realist Woman’s take:

This is scary is news. The study doesn’t give us a clear reason as to why pregnant women’s blood pressure has increased. But I think women’s stress levels may have something to do with it. Since the 1970s, women have gone from solely working inside the home to working both inside and outside the home.  And as women have taken more responsibility in society, many have pursued careers, delaying motherhood. There’s more risk for both mother and baby when an older woman decides to become pregnant. 

This study also found black women were twice as likely to have high blood pressure during pregnancy. As we know, high blood pressure can be fatal for women and the maternal mortality rate for black women in this country is disheartening. A lack of adequate health care has a lot to do with this, as well as the fact that black women tend to have more stress in society due to the double blow of racism and sexism received in society. The working harder for less than white men, white women, and black men is likely another reason why high blood pressure during pregnancy is twice the rate of others. We need to do better for mothers-to-be. We need to better for women of color. Period.