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Navigating the Perfect Storm: Confronting the Epidemic of Hypertensive Disorders in Pregnancy

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Author(s): Terry D. Bilhartz | Patty A. Bilhartz

Journal: Eä : Revista de Humanidades Médicas & Estudios Sociales de la Ciencia y la Tecnología
ISSN 1852-4680

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: hypertensive disorders in pregnancy | preeclampsia | obesity | metabolic disorders

ABSTRACT
Hypertensive Disorders in Pregnancy (HDP) are leading causes of immediate and long-term maternal and fetal morbidity and early mortality. While a generation ago these conditions affected 6-8% of all pregnancies, in recent years about one in eight pregnant women are affected, a rate that translates into more than one-half million new cases each year in North America alone. This article discusses the history, presentations and changing incidence rates of HDP. In addition, it identifies and describes the social and biological changes that account for the increases. For example, because risks for developing HDP increase with advanced maternal age, nulliparity, and multiple gestations, modern trends such as delayed childbearing, smaller family size, and in vitro fertilization procedures that increase multi-gestational pregnancies all contribute to the growing incidence of HDP. Rising levels of obesity evidenced by high-pre-pregnancy body mass index and metabolic abnormalities also add to the HDP epidemic. The article concludes with some recommendations regarding how this knowledge can impact healthcare in the 21st century.

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Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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