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Pre-pregnancy high blood pressure may increase miscarriage risk

Friday 6th April 2018
High blood pressure prior to conception may increase the risk of miscarriage, according to a new study. Image: 6okean via iStock
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Women who suffer from high blood pressure before falling pregnant may be more likely to have a miscarriage, new research suggests.

A study carried out by doctors from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in the US identified a clear link between elevated blood pressure prior to conception and increased risk of miscarriage.

This came to light following the analysis of data relating to more than 1,200 women who took part in the EAGeR (Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction) trial, which included monitoring of participants' blood pressure.

It was found that for every 10mmHg increase in a woman's blood pressure levels, she was 18 per cent more likely to suffer a miscarriage in comparison to a female with 'normal' blood pressure.

What's more, miscarriage was also found to be more likely for women with higher levels of mean arterial pressure, which is a metric of the level of pressure in the arteries during a full heartbeat cycle.

Indeed, the research led to the discovery that every 10mmHg increase in this area led to a 17 per cent greater likelihood of miscarriage.

Enrique Schisterman, senior author of the study, commented: "Elevated blood pressure is linked to heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

"Our findings suggest that attaining a healthy blood pressure before pregnancy could not only have benefits later in life, but also reduce the chances for pregnancy loss."

This should therefore be something that nurses and other healthcare professionals responsible for taking blood pressure measurements are bearing in mind. They can then advise on lifestyle changes that women wanting to conceive could try in order to lower their blood pressure levels and potentially reduce their risk of miscarriage.

First author of the paper Carrie Nobles added that "further research could help determine if treating elevated blood pressure and other health risks before conception improves pregnancy outcomes".

Written by James Puckle

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