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Chronic Hypertension Negatively Affects Pregnancy Outcomes, Study Shows

A recent study shows that pregnant women with chronic hypertensions are more likely to have unfavorable maternal, fetal, and neonatal outcomes compared with their normotensive counterparts. Moreover, exposure to blood-pressure lowering treatment may contribute to an increased risk of small for gestational age (SGA).

Photo: Chronic Hypertension During Pregnancy | InStyleHealth

From the current systematic review and meta-analysis collected data from 94 studies, of which 81 evaluated the effect of chronic hypertension while 16 examined that of antihypertensive treatment. Using Funnel plots and Egger’s test indicated no significant publication bias. The overall scores for studies’ quality according to Newcastle-Ottawa grading ranged from 4 to 9, with poorer quality among studies evaluating the effect of BP lowering.

Chronic hypertension was correlated with increased likelihood of pre-eclampsia, caesarean section, maternal mortality, preterm birth, stillbirth, and SGA. The correlations persisted even after controlling for maternal race or ethnicity in subgroup analyses.

In the meantime, women with chronic hypertension on antihypertensive medication had higher probabilities of SGA compared with those who received no treatment.

According to researchers, more studies are needed to establish whether the correlation between BP-lowering therapy and SGA is a direct effect of the treatment or because severe hypertension during pregnancy is a risk factor for SGA and women with severe hypertension are more likely to be treated.



Source: J Am Heart Assoc 2021

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