Postpartum Sequelae of the Hypertensive Diseases of Pregnancy: A Pilot Study

Niger Med J. 2018 Jan-Feb;59(1):1-6. doi: 10.4103/nmj.NMJ_101_18.


Background: Hypertensive disorders are one of the most common medical conditions that may complicate pregnancy. Postpartum blood pressure (BP) pattern is, however, less clear in affected women and decision to discharge them is usually decided arbitrarily.

Materials and methods: A cohort study conducted at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria, aimed at determining the proportion of pregnant women with pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) and preeclampsia (PE) whose BP remains elevated 6 weeks postdelivery and factors associated with the persistent rise. Fifteen women each with PIH and PE were studied in different phases of pregnancy and followed up until 6 weeks postdelivery. Fifteen normotensive pregnant women served as controls. BP patterns were monitored and fasting lipid levels, serum creatinine, fasting glucose profile (FGP), and FGP/insulin ratio were assayed. Data were analyzed with IBM SPSS version 20.

Results: Proportion of women with PIH or PE who had persistent hypertension at 6 weeks postpartum was 3/29 (10.3%), risk ratio of 1.1. No statistically significant association was found between mean arterial BP at 6 weeks postpartum and age, parity, gestational age at delivery, body mass index, and family history of hypertension. Serum creatinine level showed moderate correlation with persistent hypertension at 6 weeks postpartum (r = 0.441,P = 0.006), with sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 81.8% at cutoff value of 1.2 mg/dL in detecting pregnant women with hypertensive disorders who will likely remain hypertensive at 6 weeks postpartum.

Conclusion: There is a need for long-term follow-up of women with PIH/PE beyond puerperium.

Keywords: Blood pressure; creatinine; fasting plasma glucose; fasting plasma glucose/insulin ratio; lipid levels; preeclampsia; pregnancy-induced hypertension.