Importance: Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality in the US.
Objective: To conduct a targeted systematic review to update the evidence on the effectiveness of screening for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy to inform the US Preventive Services Task Force.
Data sources: MEDLINE and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for relevant studies published between January 1, 2014, and January 4, 2022; surveillance through February 21, 2023.
Study selection: English-language comparative effectiveness studies comparing screening strategies in pregnant or postpartum individuals.
Data extraction and synthesis: Two reviewers independently appraised articles and extracted relevant data from fair-or good-quality studies; no quantitative synthesis was conducted.
Main outcomes and measures: Morbidity or mortality, measures of health-related quality of life.
Results: The review included 6 fair-quality studies (5 trials and 1 nonrandomized study; N = 10 165) comparing changes in prenatal screening practices with usual care, which was routine screening at in-person office visits. No studies addressed screening for new-onset hypertensive disorders of pregnancy in the postpartum period. One trial (n = 2521) evaluated home blood pressure measurement as a supplement to usual care; 3 trials (total n = 5203) evaluated reduced prenatal visit schedules. One study (n = 2441) evaluated proteinuria screening conducted only for specific clinical indications, compared with a historical control group that received routine proteinuria screening. One additional trial (n = 80) only addressed the comparative harms of home blood pressure measurement. The studies did not report statistically significant differences in maternal and infant complications with alternate strategies compared with usual care; however, estimates were imprecise for serious, rare health outcomes. Home blood pressure measurement added to prenatal care visits was not associated with earlier diagnosis of a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy (104.3 vs 106.2 days), and incidence was not different between groups in 3 trials of reduced prenatal visit schedules. No harms of the different screening strategies were identified.
Conclusions and relevance: This review did not identify evidence that any alternative screening strategies for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy were more effective than routine blood pressure measurement at in-person prenatal visits. Morbidity and mortality from hypertensive disorders of pregnancy can be prevented, yet American Indian/Alaska Native persons and Black persons experience inequitable rates of adverse outcomes. Further research is needed to identify screening approaches that may lead to improved disease detection and health outcomes.