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Study: high blood pressure in pregnant women is on the rise

Increasing 6% each year
Posted at 6:13 PM, Sep 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-18 10:40:41-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — For pregnant women, there is a laundry list of things to worry about. A study shows that blood pressure is an issue affecting more women each year.

A new study by Dr. Cande Ananth showed that high blood pressure during pregnancy, otherwise known as chronic hypertension is a rising issue.

"Chronic Hypertension increased on average 6% per year. More than 13-fold," said Dr. Ananth.

Dr. Ananth's study looked at more than 100-million pregnant women from 1970 to 2010. Nearly 1-million of these women had high blood pressure.

Local OB-GYN Dr. Gil Farkash says it's something he sees here quite often.

"Daily in my office there's patients that come in with either borderline or actually have the definition of high blood pressure, which is defined as the top number over 140, bottom number over 90," said Dr. Farkash.

Dr. Ananth's study also showed that African American women are twice as likely to have a high BP.

"African American women typically have increased rates for not just chronic hypertension, but virtually all obstetrics that we study," said Dr. Ananth.

So what's behind this trend?

"Stress brings a lot of high blood pressure. And who has more stress than African American women?" said Reverend Diann Holt, a doula and retired nurse.

"Obesity rate, I believe nationally and certainly in Buffalo has been on the increase," said Dr. Farkash.

It's true. Both obesity and stress can raise blood pressure, but Dr. Ananth says a key reason more women are experiencing it is because they're having babies later in life.

"Age has increased about 45 years in that four year period so more and more women are electing to postpone their first pregnancies," said Dr. Ananth.

"35 and above is advanced maternal age, so that’s a risk factor by itself to have high BP and pre-eclampsia later in the pregnancy," said Dr. Farkash.

But he says this shouldn't discourage women from trying to get pregnant. Doctors recommend checking blood pressure early and often to avoid problems.