A new study has found that only 13.7 percent of women with hypertensive issues during pregnancy (HDP), attended an appointment to check their blood pressure within 10 days after giving birth. HDP can lead to life-threatening complications, as described in the study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Women’s Health.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that women suffering from HDP undergo blood pressure testing 7-10 days after delivery to identify postpartum hypertension or earlier if symptoms begin to manifest.
Sheree Boulet, MD, MPH, from Emory University School of Medicine, and coauthors conducted a population-based study of women who gave birth at a major public hospital in Atlanta, GA and identified demographic and clinical predictors of postpartum blood pressure (BP) screening attendance among women suffering from HDP. They found that women with preeclampsia that had severe characteristics were more likely to attend a BP appointment than women suffering from gestational hypertension. Additionally, rates of BP screening were lower among women with low or inadequate prenatal care utilization compared to women with sufficient prenatal care.
The authors say that “These findings suggest we have a long road to cover in enhancing BP screen attendance.” “Resolving the gap in postpartum BP screen attendance will require innovative solutions to overcome obstacles at all levels: provider, individual, and system.”
ACOG recommends that HDP women undergo BP screening within 7-10 business days after delivery. However, women must still show up for the visit. This study highlights the lack of chance to screen these high risk women to avoid potentially serious complications of postpartum hypertension.”
Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Journal of Women’s HealthEditor-in-Chief Director of the Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, Richmond, VA
Campbell, A., et al. (2021) Demographic and clinical predictors of postpartum Blood Pressure Screening Attendance. Journal of Women’s Health. doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2021.0161.
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