Preconception Blood Pressure Levels and Reproductive Outcomes in a Prospective Cohort of Women Attempting Pregnancy
Elevated blood pressure in young adulthood is an early risk marker for cardiovascular disease. Despite a strong biological rationale, little research has evaluated whether incremental increases in preconception blood pressure have early consequences for reproductive health. We evaluated preconception blood pressure and fecundability, pregnancy loss, and live birth in the EAGeR trial (Effects of Aspirin on Gestational and Reproduction; 2007–2011), a randomized clinical trial of aspirin and reproductive outcomes among 1228 women attempting pregnancy with a history of pregnancy loss. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were measured during preconception in the first observed menstrual cycle and in early pregnancy and used to derive mean arterial pressure. Fecundability was assessed as number of menstrual cycles until pregnancy, determined through human chorionic gonadotropin testing. Pregnancy loss included both human chorionic gonadotropin–detected and clinical losses. Analyses adjusted for treatment assignment, age, body mass index, race, marital status, smoking, parity, and time since last loss. Mean preconception systolic and diastolic blood pressure were 111.6 mm Hg (SD, 12.1) and 72.5 (SD, 9.4) mm Hg. Risk of pregnancy loss increased 18% per 10 mm Hg increase in diastolic blood pressure (95% confidence interval, 1.03–1.36) and 17% per 10 mm Hg increase in mean arterial pressure (95% confidence interval, 1.02–1.35) in adjusted analyses. Findings were similar for early pregnancy blood pressure. Preconception blood pressure was not related to fecundability or live birth in adjusted analyses. Findings suggest that preconception blood pressure among healthy women is associated with pregnancy loss, and lifestyle interventions targeting blood pressure among young women may favorably impact reproductive health.
- Received December 6, 2017.
- Revision received December 19, 2017.
- Accepted February 27, 2018.
- © 2018 American Heart Association, Inc.