When I read this story a few weeks ago, I was baffled by the headline. Aren’t strokes mostly suffered by the elderly and those with deadly levels of cholesterol? I couldn’t imagine a pregnant woman, glowing with all her maternal glory, suffering from a stroke. It seemed wrong and disturbing.
Unfortunately, it’s a sad fact, backed up by even more sound facts and stats by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Between 1994-95 and 2006-07, the percentage of pregnant women who were hospitalized for stroke rose 47%
- The number of new mothers (who had just given birth) who suffered stroke within three months post-partum increased 83%
- During the 1994-95 to 2006-07 period, hospitalizations due to strokes suffered by pregnant and new mothers increased 54%
- For 2006-07, more than 53% of the women who were hospitalized for strokes during pregnancy were either suffering from high blood pressure or heart disease
Stroke risks are present before pregnancy
Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease were among the most common reasons why a pregnant woman could suffer a stroke. A women with one or more of these underlying conditions is most likely to suffer from complications during birth or shortly after, especially if her body isn’t able to cope with the amount of energy and stress that is associated with the birthing process.
Dr. Elena Kuklina, lead author for Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, noted that while the incidents of stroke among women are relatively rare, the study’s population is at a particular risk; more and more Americans are suffering from stroke at a younger age. Pregnant women are no exception, especially considering that pregnancy and the birth process is, in itself, a high-risk medical factor.
Preventing pregnancy health problems
Women planning to have a baby need to do more than just plan to eat healthy during the pregnancy, according to Dr. Kuklina. It’s not rocket science, but practicing a disciplined lifestyle before pregnancy can reduce a woman’s risk for complications such as stroke, among others, during pregnancy. An active lifestyle made up of regular exercise and a high-fiber, low-sodium and nutrient-dense diet is the best way to keep a healthy weight.
About Martine De Luna
I'm a freelance writer, editor, blogger and former preschool teacher. Married with one kid, I'm a work-at-home mom, but most of all, a mom-in-the-works. I'm a work in progress, and I believe that living intentionally day by day will help me become the best mom for my child.Web | Twitter | Facebook | More Posts (41)