All Pregnant People Should Be Screened for Hypertensive Disorders, US Task Force Recommends

All Pregnant People Should Be Screened for Hypertensive Disorders, US Task Force Recommends

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended that all pregnant people, regardless of their existing medical conditions, should be screened for disorders such as gestational hypertension and preeclampsia through blood pressure monitoring throughout their pregnancy. This recommendation, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), aims to address the rising rates of maternal deaths and complications related to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy include chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and eclampsia. Preeclampsia, in particular, is a serious condition that develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy, often in the third trimester. It can affect organs in the body and may lead to seizures and stroke.

The task force’s recommendation emphasizes the importance of blood pressure monitoring as a screening tool for all hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, especially preeclampsia. Regular prenatal visits already include blood pressure measurements, but this official recommendation gives health practitioners a standardized treatment plan. The hope is that increased monitoring will reduce the risk of undiagnosed or untreated hypertensive disorders among pregnant individuals.

According to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy has been on the rise in the United States. It affects at least 1 in 7 hospital deliveries, with older women, Black women, and American Indian and Alaska Native women at higher risk. Communities of color, in general, are at the highest risk for these disorders due to social determinants of health and limited access to care.

While blood pressure monitoring during pregnancy is paramount, the task force did not make a recommendation regarding postpartum care. Future research and guidelines may explore the need for continued blood pressure monitoring and management after childbirth.

By implementing this recommendation, healthcare providers can effectively identify and address hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, potentially improving outcomes for both mothers and babies.

– CNN (URL omitted for text-based AI)

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