For the first time, the US Preventive Services Task Force has issued a draft recommendation to test pregnant women for high blood pressure disorders of pregnancy, by screening their blood pressure during pregnancy. The US Preventive Services Task Force has also brought attention to racial biases existing in the United States. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy have been on the rise across the country. With the extension of the recommendation for high blood pressure screening for pregnant women, now the average person might see their healthcare providers paying more attention to their blood pressure levels during pregnancy. Now doctors are expected to screen for all types of disorders linked to high blood pressure along with preeclampsia. Health experts have said the new recommendation supports a 2017 statement that endorses testing blood pressure measurements during pregnancy. A member of the US task force and an associate professor of medicine from the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Esa Davis has said that the recent recommendation issued by the US Task Force is different from the earlier recommendation for screening high blood pressure measurements during each prenatal visit. Davis has said that the recent recommendation highlights the importance of measuring high blood pressure during pregnancy which is quite an effective approach. The draft recommendation issued by the US Task Force advises healthcare providers to track blood pressure during pregnancy and consider it as a screening tool for hypertensive disorders. Dr. Esa Davis has said that it might decrease the risk of some high blood pressure disorders among pregnant women that often don’t get diagnosed or treated.
Health experts who have participated in the drafting of the new recommendation have said they have broadened the screening for all types of hypertensive disorders such as gestational hypertension, eclampsia, and preeclampsia since the course of screening and the medical management is similar for all forms of high blood pressure disorders of pregnancy. The US Preventive Services Task Force was founded in 1984. It is a group of autonomous volunteer medical specialists whose recommendations help healthcare providers make crucial decisions for public health. The new guidance from the US Task Force has been released on its official website. The US Preventive Services Task Force has assessed data on various methods for screening high blood pressure disorders during pregnancy from studies that were published between January 2014 and January 2022 and reviewed earlier research that had been examined for earlier suggestions to come up with the recent recommendation. A distinct Evidence-Based Practice Center has mentioned in the evidence review that testing blood pressure during pregnancy at each prenatal encounter is an established regular medical practice that diagnoses hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, though, morbidity and mortality linked to such issues continue. Health experts have said that the majority of pregnant women get their blood pressure measured at some point during pregnancy while in many cases, a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy is detected at the time of childbirth for the first time. They have said that late diagnoses provide less time for assessment and stabilization and can reduce intervention options. The authors of the new recommendation have said that there is a need for future implementation research to enhance access to regular blood pressure monitoring in the early phase of pregnancy and it should continue in the weeks following childbirth.
The US Task Force has termed the new recommendation a “B recommendation,” which means that the task force advises that healthcare professionals offer or provide the service, as there is either a high possibility that the service is moderately useful or a moderate possibility that the service is highly advantageous. The US Task Force has concluded with moderate conviction that screening for high blood pressure disorders during pregnancy, with blood pressure levels, has a significant net advantage. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a set of data last year that showed that the frequency of hypertensive disorders in childbirths took place in hospitals shot up from 13.3 percent to 15.9 percent impacting at least 1 in 7 childbirths in the hospital between 2017 and 2019. At the same time, around 31.6 percent, which is 1 out of 3 deaths during delivery in the hospital reported a documented diagnosis code for high blood pressure disorder during pregnancy. Health experts have said that Black women, older women, American Indian women, and Alaska Native women have been found to be at a higher risk of hypertensive disorders. These hypertensive disorders have been reported in around 1 in 3 hospital deliveries in women who have been in the age range of 45 to 55 years. The frequency of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy has been around 20.9 percent in Black women. While the prevalence of these disorders during pregnancy has been about 16.4 percent in American Indian and Alaska Native women, 14.7 percent in white women, and hypertensive disorders have been prevalent around 12.5 percent in Hispanic women and 9.3 percent in Asian or Pacific Islander women during pregnancy.
Experts from the task force have said that the new draft recommendation might help increase awareness about racial inequalities and how Black and Native American women are more vulnerable to such disorders and other health issues. Dr. Esa Davis has said that this new recommendation will help make sure that people who are at a higher risk are screened regularly and have access to essential treatments. The chief health correspondent and medical affairs officer at the federally certified community health center AltaMed Health Services said Dr. Ilan Shapiro has said that if communities of color are more susceptible to hypertensive disorders during pregnancy, it might be due to social factors of health and access to care. He has said that social factors of health are the settings and locations in which people reside that might have a major impact on their access to care. These social health factors include their income, safety, housing, and lack of resources for healthy food or easy conveyance. These social factors contribute to the health and well-being of the mother and baby hugely. Experts have said that having healthy foods and getting indulged in regular exercise can help keep high blood pressure under control. Some blood pressure medicines as well are safe to use in pregnancy, however, women should first consult with their healthcare providers before starting these medications.
Devoted my whole life to words - reading, writing and trying to be original on social media. Got certified in digital marketing - still not cool enough to be an influencer. Finished a master’s degree focused in Literature, Publishing, Mass Media. Hobbies include traveling, reading and hoping that yoga will be the thing to finally teach me some patience. Would like to take over the world at some point, but that’s an optional dream. Maybe modern tech can help me do that?