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  • Ryan Wittler

Millennials and Gen Z-ers Are Twice as Likely to Develop High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy


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A new study by researchers at Northwestern University found millennials and Gen Z-ers are approximately twice as likely to be newly diagnosed with high blood pressure during pregnancy, including preeclampsia and gestational hypertension, than pregnant people from the baby boomer generation.


Study highlights:


While it’s commonly thought that increases in high blood pressure during pregnancy stems from people becoming pregnant at an older age, the study found rates of high blood pressure are higher among people from more recent generations, regardless of their age during pregnancy.

  • The highest rates of high blood pressure during pregnancy were found among Black Americans and American Indian/Alaska Natives, regardless of age, birth year of the pregnant person, and when the delivery happened.


The study included data on 38 million people with first pregnancies between 1995 and 2019.


What’s behind it?


The researchers say that while many factors contribute to the changes in rates of high blood pressure during pregnancy, they hypothesize it’s largely due to the observed decline in heart health for young Americans compared to previous generations.

  • For example, more people in more recent generations enter pregnancy with risk factors like obesity than people from older generations.


Going forward:


The researchers are calling on public health officials to broaden screening and focus on prevention before and during pregnancy, particularly for young people who’ve traditionally not been considered to be at risk.


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