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High blood pressure linked to fertility treatment

Compared to spontaneous conceptions, pregnancies resulting from infertility treatments have a greater risk of developing gestational hypertension or high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Pre-eclampsia is a condition that can affect multiple systems of the body and is characterised high blood pressure and protein in the urine (suggesting kidney malfunction). The condition occurs in up to 8 percent of pregnancies and accounts for up to 15 percent of the 500,000 pregnancy-related deaths worldwide each year. The risk of pre-eclampsia is higher in not only pregnancies resulting from infertility treatments but also in the ones that are assisted.

To examine gestational hypertension, researchers at the Boston University studied over 5,000 women who gave birth to infants between 1998 and 2006. Within 6 months after delivery, the women were interviewed about socio-demographic and medical factors, including gestational hypertension, pre-eclampsia and infertility treatments.

The results showed that the risk of gestational hypertension in pregnancies resulting from infertility treatment was 90 higher than the risk in spontaneous pregnancies. It was found that women who had undergone infertility treatments had a higher rate of gestational hypertension than those who did not have infertility treatments, at 16 percent versus 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. 2 percent). After adjusting the data for other risk factors, the risk was only 60 percent higher and the inclusion of multiple fetuses changed the risk to only 20 percent.

Thus, due to the higher risk of developing high blood pressure, women undergoing infertility treatments need to take extra care and precautions.

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