Pre-eclampsia Linked to Later Problems

Pre eclampsia increases risk of chronic hypertension and future hospitalizations in women

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Among the various complications that can occur during pregnancy, pre-eclampsia is one of the more common ones. It may have long-term implications as well.

A recent study has found that having pre-eclampsia raises a woman's risks of having high blood pressure or hospitalizations later on.

"Attend all prenatal visits."

The study, led by Guy Shalom, part of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, sought to find out what the long-term health consequences might be if a woman has pre-eclampsia during her pregnancy.

The researchers looked at 2,072 women who had mild or severe pre-eclampsia in at least one pregnancy between 1988 and 1998.

Pre-eclampsia is a condition of dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy, diagnosed by finding protein in a woman's urine.

It usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy and can occur up to six weeks after giving birth. About 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies involve pre-eclampsia.

Women who already had an underlying condition with high blood pressure or who had diabetes before becoming pregnant were not included in the study.

These women's long-term health outcomes were then compared to those of 20,742 women who never had pre-eclampsia.

Women who had pre-eclampsia were more likely to be diagnosed with chronic hypertension than women who didn't have pre-eclampsia.

While just 0.9 percent of women without pre-eclampsia were diagnosed later with chronic high blood pressure, 12.5 percent of the women who had pre-eclampsia had chronic hypertension later.

The researchers also found that women with pre-eclampsia were slightly more likely to be admitted to the hospital for a problem later in life than women who did not have pre-eclampsia.

Among women without pre-eclampsia, 11.4 percent were later hospitalized at least once, compared to 13.7 percent of the women who had pre-eclampsia.

The study was published September 4 in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine.

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Review Date: 
September 7, 2012
Last Updated:
September 8, 2012