Prehypertension in Pregnancy

Blood pressure elevations during pregnancy may increase metabolic syndrome risk

(RxWiki News) Women who experience prehypertension during pregnancy may face an increased risk for developing metabolic syndrome post-delivery, according to a new study.

This new study was published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension

Prehypertension is when blood pressure readings are in the upper ranges of what is considered normal blood pressure. Prehypertension is defined by a systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139 mm Hg over a diastolic of 80 to 89 mm Hg. 

This study looked at 507 Chinese women with normal pregnancies and no history of high blood pressure. These women underwent at least seven blood pressure readings during pregnancy. The researchers followed these women for up to 1.6 years, during which the women's blood sugar and cholesterol levels were monitored. 

These researchers found that 13 percent of these women had prehypertension. Women with prehypertension were at a higher risk for developing metabolic syndrome after delivery, this study found. 

Metabolic syndrome is the name to represent a group of risk factors, such as obesity, high triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Having these risk factors raises heart disease risk.

These researchers noted that persistently elevated blood pressure is what may predict future risk — versus a few snapshot blood pressure readings. 

"Early identification of metabolic risk factors and implementation of lifestyle modifications may help delay the onset of cardiovascular disease that would present itself 20 to 30 years after delivery," said lead study author Dr. Jian-Min Niu, of the Guangdong Women and Children Hospital, in a press release. 

Speak with your doctor about your blood pressure goals during pregnancy. 

Study funding came from the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province and Tianjin Municipal Science and Technology Commission Key Funding. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
June 27, 2016