Study: COVID-19 and high blood pressure in early pregnancy

A new study by WashU Med maternal-fetal medicine specialists suggests that expectant mothers who test positive for COVID-19 before 32 weeks of pregnancy have almost double the risk of developing serious high blood pressure disorders — such as preeclampsia and chronic hypertension — compared to pregnant women who did not have COVID-19. The risk was not found in women who tested positive closer to term. The retrospective study, involving women admitted for delivery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

“There is emerging information that the effects of COVID-19 persist after the initial infection is resolved, and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy may be one of these long-term outcomes,” said the study’s first author, Joshua Rosenbloom, MD, an instructor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology’s Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. “Our research emphasizes the need for long-term follow-up of patients with COVID-19 in pregnancy to ensure that lingering problems such as high blood pressure are appropriately treated.”