Preeclampsia across pregnancies and associated risk factors: Findings from a high-risk US birth Cohort

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BACKGROUND: Preeclampsia increases women’s risks for maternal morbidity and future cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to identify opportunities for prevention by examining the association between cardiometabolic risk factors and preeclampsia across 2 pregnancies among women in a high-risk US birth cohort. METHODS AND RESULTS: Our sample included 618 women in the Boston Birth Cohort with index and subsequent pregnancy data collected using standard protocols. We conducted log-binomial univariate regression models to examine the association between preeclampsia in the subsequent pregnancy (defined as incident or recurrent preeclampsia) and cardiometabolic risk factors (ie, obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, preterm birth, low birth weight, and gestational diabetes mellitus) diagnosed before and during the index pregnancy, and between index and subsequent pregnancies. At the subsequent pregnancy, 7% (36/540) had incident preeclampsia and 42% (33/78) had recurrent preeclampsia. Compared with women without obesity, women with obesity had greater risk of incident preeclampsia (unadjusted risk ratio [RR], 2.2 [95% CI, 1.1-4.5]) and recurrent preeclampsia (unadjusted RR, 3.1 [95% CI, 1.5-6.7]). Preindex pregnancy chronic hypertension and diabetes mellitus were associated with incident, but not recurrent, preeclampsia (hypertension unadjusted RR, 7.9 [95% CI, 4.1-15.3]; diabetes mellitus unadjusted RR, 5.2 [95% CI, 2.5-11.1]. Women with new interpregnancy hypertension versus those without had a higher risk of incident and recurrent preeclampsia (incident preeclampsia unadjusted RR, 6.1 [95% CI, 2.9-13]); recurrent preeclampsia unadjusted RR, 2.4 [95% CI, 1.5-3.9]). CONCLUSIONS: In this diverse sample of high-risk US women, we identified modifiable and treatable risk factors, including obesity and hypertension for the prevention of preeclampsia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere019612
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 7 2021


  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Preeclampsia/pregnancy
  • Pregnancy and postpartum
  • Prevention
  • Women and minorities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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