As blessing as pregnancy is, it comes with complications such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. Although these complications usually go away on their own after childbirth, they may increase the risk of getting a stroke for the mother.
In the time of pregnancy, there are many adjustments and changes in the body. Metabolism processes will be a little different since the body must nurture 2 entities at a time. Therefore, many diseases and symptoms are easy to get, including diabetes, hypertensions, anemia, and so on. Many researches have been conducted, and there are many researchers have shown the relation between pregnancy and stroke.
According to Dr. Cheryl Bushnell from Duke University, women who have experienced preeclampsia or gestational diabetes are twice more likely to get a stroke than those who did not have pregnancy-related complications. Dr. Bushnell believes that preeclampsia is a warning sign of stroke and heart disease that could develop later.
Dr. Bushnell’s study looked at a group of 42,263 women who had given birth from 1979 to 2005. Beside preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, the study also included abruption, preterm labor, stillbirth, low amniotic fluid levels, and postpartum bleeding. The study found that approximately 70% women who had pregnancy complications would have a stroke within the average of 13.5 years after delivery. Women of African-American ethnicity and women who were more than 35 years old were more likely to get a stroke.
An MRI is the best way to diagnose for stroke. When to have a scan depends on the stage of pregnancy, in consideration of the risk and benefit ratio. The best time to get an MRI, if needed, during pregnancy is after the first trimester, as the study suggests. In fact, the body of evidence is not enough for a conclusion, yet suffice it to show an association that warrants further research.
In the mean time, women who have had pregnancy complications should have their health monitored closely by an expert. Other recommendations to lower the risk of stroke includes adopting a healthier lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercises.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnose or treatment.
Review Date: September 22, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
ANA: Pregnancy Complications May Increase Stroke Risk Years Later. http://www.medpagetoday.com/neurology/strokes/1833 Assessed September 11, 2016
Tate, J., & Bushnell, C. (2011). Pregnancy and stroke risk in women. Women’s Health (London, England), 7(3), 363–374. http://doi.org/10.2217/whe.11.19
Pregnancy and Stroke Risk in Women, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3137888/ , Accessed September 15th, 2016