Objective: Pregnancy-induced hypertension is an important cause of maternal mortality, intrauterine growth retardation, and perinatal mortality. We examined the relationship between pregnancy-induced hypertension and asthma.
Study design: The study population consisted of 24,115 women without a history of chronic systemic hypertension who were delivered of live born and stillborn infants at Mount Sinai Medical Center between January 1987 and December 1991. Pregnancy-induced hypertension was defined as blood pressure of at least 140/90 mm Hg or an increase of > or = 30 mm Hg in systolic pressure or > or = 15 mm Hg in diastolic pressure.
Results: There was a significant association between pregnancy-induced hypertension and asthma during pregnancy (chi 2 = 17.86, p < 0.001). In addition, there was a significant upward trend in the incidence of asthma during pregnancy in women without, with moderate, and with severe pregnancy-induced hypertension (Mantel-Haenszel chi 2 = 11.8, p = 0.001). Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the association between pregnancy-induced hypertension and asthma during pregnancy persisted after adjustment for the confounding factors of race or ethnicity, maternal age, parity, and prepregnancy weight (adjusted odds ratio 2.52, 95% confidence interval 1.47 to 4.35, p = 0.0008). An association between pregnancy-induced hypertension and a history of asthma was also found (chi 2 = 11.2, p = 0.001). However, after adjustment for potential confounders, this association failed to achieve statistical significance (adjusted odds ratio 1.2, 95% confidence interval 0.97 to 1.53, p = 0.083).
Conclusion: Both pregnancy-induced hypertension and asthma might be caused by a third factor affecting smooth muscle reactivity.