Study: Fertility Treatments Linked to High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy

Doctor taking blood pressureWomen who get pregnant with fertility treatments like IVF, ICSI, and IUI are more likely to develop gestational hypertension than women who get pregnant “the old fashioned way,” from sexual intercourse, according to new a new study by researchers at Boston University.

Boston University’s Dr. Allen A. Mitchell and colleagues studied more than 5,000 women who gave birth, interviewing them about their experiences, including demographic information such as age and weight, and medical information, such as gestational hypertension, preeclampsia and their use of infertility treatments.

They found significant differences in rates of gestational hypertension (high blood pressure during pregnancy) and preeclampsia between women who had used fertility-enhancing medical treatments and those who hadn’t:

Women who had undergone infertility treatments had a higher rate of gestational hypertension than those who did not have infertility treatments, at 15.8 percent versus 8.9 percent, respectively. Women who had multiple fetuses were also more likely to have gestational hypertension than those carrying only one fetus (23 percent vs. 1.7 percent).

The researchers found that women who had used fertility treatments had a 30 percent higher risk of gestational hypertension than women who hadn’t used had fertility treatments.

The Boston University Researchers also looked at rates of preeclampsia, a medical condition where high blood pressure arises in pregnancy along with multiple system failures and the discharge of protein in urine. Preeclampsia occurs in up to 8 percent of all pregnancies and accounts for up to 15 percent of the 500,000 pregnancy-related deaths world-wide each year. They found that women who had undergone infertility treatments had a 20 percent higher risk of developing preeclampsia than women who hadn’t used infertility treatments.

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