Background: Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are risk markers for future maternal coronary heart disease (CHD). Clinical assessment of a woman's history of pregnancy complications relies on self-report, but the predictive value of maternal recall is unclear. A systematic review was conducted to comprehensively review and critically assess the available literature on maternal recall of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.
Methods: The PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases were searched through August 2012. We included original research articles comparing maternal recall of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy with medical records.
Results: Ten studies met eligibility criteria for qualitative analysis and were independently reviewed by two investigators. Recall periods ranged from 48 hours to 30 years. Length of recall did not appear to uniformly affect recall quality. Sensitivity was generally lower and less consistent for gestational hypertension than for preeclampsia. Specificity was >90% for all hypertensive disorders. Determinants of recall accuracy included maternal education and parity.
Conclusions: Although maternal recall of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy is specific, low sensitivity and predictive values may limit the clinical utility of asking mothers to recall their history of hypertensive pregnancy complications. Future research on maternal recall of pregnancy complications should be designed to yield predictive values and test recall of disorder subtypes, recurrent complications, and changing recall over time in the same population. The utility of gestation length and offspring birth weight for clinical identification of women whose pregnancy history puts them at increased CHD risk should also be explored.