According to a latest report published in Stroke: Journal of American Heart Association, the increase in the number of strokes related to pregnancy in the United States in highly alarming. The report says that the increase in the number of obese women and women who suffer from hypertension has lead to the increase in the number of strokes during pregnancy.
The study has been conducted and funded by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The researchers belong to the department of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Elena V. Kuklina, the lead author of the study dubbed the find as alarming and substantial. She also said that the results demand immediate action since stroke can be a very devastating situation for both the mother and child. She emphasized on the need to adopt more stringent methods to curb the menace.
According to the report, the percentage increase in the incidence of stroke in the mother during first three months after delivery is 56%, when compared to the data collected twelve years ago. Hypertension and obesity have been slated as the main contributing factors for the alarming scenario.
One thousand hospitals were surveyed and information from around 8 million records was collected for the study. The records gave a good idea about admissions and discharge of mothers during pregnancy, delivery and after delivery. Data was collected between 1994-95 and 2006-07. The results showed an increase in stroke during pregnancy by 47% and after delivery by 83%. The percentage of women who suffered strokes during delivery remained constant.
The study also found that in 2006-07, among the women who were admitted for strokes during pregnancy and after birth, 53% were heart patients or suffered hypertension. It was also reported that the present increase in pregnancy-related strokes is due to these major factors.
The authors said that while healthy women are not exposed to high risks of pregnancy related strokes, those who enter pregnancy with either heart ailments, diabetes, obesity or hypertension are more susceptible to it. Kuklina said that it is always preferable to be pregnant when body weight is normal and heart is healthy. Pregnancy can be a risky phase of life by itself. Presence of other risk factors increases the risk that is naturally associated with pregnancy.
She said that better facilities and training are to be provided to doctors who deal with pregnancy cases. Training has to include risk management before pregnancy, during pregnancy and after delivery.