Pregnancy blood pressure warning

Cases of high blood pressure in pregnant women could point to diabetes or heart disease.

That is the finding of a team of researchers, who found that "later-life" problems were often found in women deemed low risk - young, non-smokers, of normal weight and with no problems with diabetes during pregnancy.

Leading the study was Dr Tuija Männistö, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Rockville, USA. She said that previous research had found that women with preeclampsia - a serious disease suffered my some mums-to-be that causes high blood pressure and high levels of protein in urine - were at a greater risk of suffering heart and kidney disease.

Her team's work, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation , concentrated on more common and less serious reasons for pregnant women to have high blood pressure and involved women who gave birth in Finland in 1966. Over a 40-year period they compared the risks of developing diabetes or heart and kidney disease between women with high and normal blood pressure during pregnancies.

Dr Männistö said that the team's findings suggest that women with any instance of high blood pressure during their pregnancies - even just one or two instances - should consider having risk factor checks for heart disease with their doctors. She added that further research should soon shed light on how changing lifestyles and diets during and after pregnancies can affect women's blood pressure and long-term health.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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