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Study shows effects of blood pressure problems during pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time, even with morning sickness, trouble sleeping and other first-time experiences. It’s also a time when a woman’s health should be carefully monitored by Chicago physicians to avoid pregnancy-related injuries and birth injuries.

For example, not monitoring a woman’s blood pressure during checkups while she is pregnant could be extremely harmful. And a recent study done in Finland suggests that blood pressure problems during pregnancy could cause a woman’s child to suffer from cognitive ability problems as the child gets older.

The study suggests a relationship between a mother’s blood pressure and the cognitive ability of male children. Males whose mothers had complications from hypertensive disorders had lower scores on cognitive ability tests as adults compared to males whose mothers had no such complications. Specifically, scores in arithmetic reasoning and total cognitive ability in young adulthood and old age were measured. Men’s test scores averaged nearly 3 points lower at age 20. Their scores averaged more than 4 points lower as they got older.

The study was done using 398 men who had twice taken a basic ability test for military service, the first time at age 20 and the second at about 69 years of age. Data regarding their mothers’ blood pressure and urinary protein were also analyzed to identify which mothers suffered hypertension during pregnancy.

Considering the limited scope of the study, it’s important to recognize that while the results indicate a connection between a woman’s blood pressure during pregnancy and a male child’s IQ, more research is needed.

Further research is being conducted in order to learn more about how a woman’s blood pressure problems during pregnancy could affect her child if she is not treated properly for her health problems when pregnant. Studies are also trying to determine whether there are specific signs doctors can look for to quickly diagnose pregnant women with hypertensive disorders.

Source: CNN, “Mom’s blood pressure may affect baby’s IQ,” Elizabeth Landau, Oct. 3, 2012

  • Our firm represents patients and their families who have been harmed by medical negligence matters including pregnancy-related injuries and birth injuries. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Cook County birth injury page.

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