New High Blood Pressure Within a Year After Childbirth

By Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum | Posted Jun 23, 2022

According to a new study, more than 1 in 10 women develop new high blood pressure in the year after childbirth. The findings, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, highlight the importance of monitoring blood pressure during this postpartum time.

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What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition in which the force of your blood against your artery walls is too high. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg. If your systolic blood pressure (the top number) is between 120 and 129, and your diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) is less than 80, you have elevated blood pressure. High blood pressure is defined as a systolic reading of 130 or higher or a diastolic reading of 80 or higher on at least two separate occasions.

If you have high blood pressure, your heart works harder to pump blood through your arteries to organs and tissues. This can lead to a heart attack, stroke, and other health problems such as kidney disease and eye damage. Treatment for high blood pressure typically includes healthy lifestyle changes. For example, eating a healthier diet, exercising more, and/or taking medications prescribed by your doctor.

What are the risk factors for high blood pressure?

Many different factors can contribute to high blood pressure, including age, weight, family history, smoking status, and stress levels. Pregnancy can also be a trigger for hypertension. In the new study, researchers followed 2,391 women who gave birth between 2009 and 2015. They found that 11.4% of women developed new-onset hypertension the year after delivery.

What to do about postpartum hypertension?

The findings suggest that during the postpartum period, it is crucial to monitor high blood pressure. If new hypertension develops, treatment according to the American Heart Association guidelines is essential.

Pregnancy can trigger hypertension, and the postpartum period is crucial for monitoring blood pressure levels. The findings from this new study suggest that more than 1 in 10 women will develop new-onset hypertension in the year after giving birth. Women who develop hypertension during this time should be treated according to guidelines from the American Heart Association. By monitoring their blood pressure and making lifestyle changes as needed, women can reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease later in life.