AHA News: Pregnancy Complications Could Increase Women's Stroke Risk at Earlier Age

February 2, 2023

Women who have pregnancy-related health problems face an increased risk for having a stroke much earlier in life than their peers with uncomplicated pregnancies, a risk that climbs with each complicated pregnancy, new research suggests. 

Eliza C. Miller, MD, MS
Dr. Eliza C. Miller

The findings, which will be presented Feb. 8 at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference in Dallas, show women with two or more complicated pregnancies had double the risk for stroke before age 45, compared to women without serious complications.

"That's really young," said lead study author Dr. Eliza Miller, an assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University in New York City. "These women are still in their prime working years. They may be taking care of their parents as well as children. Having even a small stroke is going to have a major impact on their lives."

The findings are considered preliminary until full results are published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Miller was inspired to do the study after seeing women in her practice who were having strokes in their 40s and 50s. Many of the women had a history of poor pregnancy outcomes and issues with high blood pressure. "I thought they were too young to be having these types of strokes," Miller said. She wondered if there was something about hypertension-related pregnancy outcomes that was accelerating the women's stroke risk. [read more]

Source: U.S. News & World Report