The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting a significant rise in the number of pregnant women and new moms who are at risk for or suffer a stroke. Hospitalizations for strokes related to pregnancy and also “mini strokes” are up more than 50 percent across the nation over the last decade.
Researchers think they know why these numbers are up so considerably.
The rate of obesity among pregnant women, and also the number of women who have heart disease or high blood pressure and who opt to get pregnant, is on the rise. Also, the number of older women getting pregnant was also blamed, since stroke risk rises with age.
The good news is that the number of strokes reported during or shortly after a pregnancy are still pretty low. Around 4 million babies are born in the U.S. each year, and, according to the latest data around 6,300 pregnancy-related strokes were reported in 2006-07.
That’s not an insignificant number, of course, and CDC researchers are calling for better screening of pregnant women for the risk factors.
The CDC came up with these latest stroke figures after examining records from a sample of hospitals in all the states. They considered all strokes that occurred either during pregnancy or up to three months following birth. Among the findings was that region made a difference: highest rate was in the South and lowest in the Northeast.
Doctors recommend a health screening before attempting to get pregnant. And also warn families to keep in mind the following symptoms of stroke:
… [S]udden onset of any of these: numbness or weakness on one side, severe headache with no known cause, confusion, and trouble walking, speaking or seeing.
Photo: dizznbonn via flickr