Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

The combined association of psychosocial stress and chronic hypertension with preeclampsia

TitleThe combined association of psychosocial stress and chronic hypertension with preeclampsia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsYu, Y, Zhang, S, Wang, G, Hong, X, Mallow, EB, Walker, SO, Pearson, C, Heffner, L, Zuckerman, B, Wang, X
JournalAm J Obstet Gynecol
Pagination438 e1-438 e12
Date PublishedNov
ISBN Number1097-6868 (Electronic)0002-9378 (Linking)
Accession Number23850528
KeywordsAdult, chronic disease, Chronic hypertension, combined effect, Female, Humans, Hypertension/*epidemiology/psychology, Odds Ratio, Pre-Eclampsia/*epidemiology/psychology, preeclampsia, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular/*epidemiology/psychology, psychosocial stress, Risk Factors, Stress, Psychological/*epidemiology, Surveys and Questionnaires, Young Adult

OBJECTIVE: This study aims to evaluate perceived lifetime stress, perceived stress during pregnancy, chronic hypertension, and their joint association with preeclampsia risk. STUDY DESIGN: This study includes 4314 women who delivered a singleton live birth at the Boston Medical Center from October 1998 through February 2008. Chronic hypertension was defined as hypertension diagnosed before pregnancy. Information regarding lifetime stress and perceived stress during pregnancy was collected by questionnaire. Preeclampsia was diagnosed by clinical criteria. RESULTS: Lifetime stress (odds ratio [OR], 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6-2.9), perceived stress during pregnancy (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.3-2.2), and chronic hypertension (OR, 10.4; 95% CI, 7.5-14.4) were each associated with an increased risk of preeclampsia. Compared to normotensive pregnancy with low lifetime stress, both normotensive pregnancy with high lifetime stress (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.6-2.9) and pregnancy with chronic hypertension and low lifetime stress (OR, 10.2; 95% CI, 7.0-14.9) showed an increased risk of preeclampsia, while pregnancy with high lifetime stress and chronic hypertension yielded the highest risk of preeclampsia (OR, 21.3; 95% CI, 10.2-44.3). The joint association of perceived stress during pregnancy and chronic hypertension with preeclampsia was very similar to that of the joint association of lifetime stress and chronic hypertension with preeclampsia. CONCLUSION: This finding indicates that high psychosocial stress and chronic hypertension can act in combination to increase the risk of preeclampsia up to 20-fold. This finding underscores the importance of efforts to prevent, screen, and manage chronic hypertension, along with those to reduce psychosocial stress, particularly among women with chronic hypertension.