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ST. LOUIS — The rate of pregnancy-related high blood pressure disorders doubled in the U.S. between 2007 and 2019, according to new research that finds 1 in 5 births now result in such a hypertensive disorder, a preterm delivery, or a baby with low birth weight. 

Researchers looked at the health complications pregnant women and their children experience including preeclampsia and gestational hypertension, or high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Dr. Gary Dildy is a maternal fetal medicine and OB/GYN at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital who says that increases were similar across all age, racial, and ethnic groups.  The rate of increase accelerated more in recent years, growing over 9% on average between 2014 to 2019. Dr. Dildy says high blood pressure during pregnancy poses various risks including decreased blood flow to the placenta.

The study gave evidence of the health burden faced by expecting mothers and their doctors to focus on the health risks and educate moms on how to best take care of their health before becoming pregnant and while pregnant.  The study also highlights the need for women to be taught about the long-term implications of high blood pressure during pregnancy.

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