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Expanding High Blood Pressure Screenings During Pregnancy: Recommendations by US Task Force

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Expanding High Blood Pressure Screenings During Pregnancy: Recommendations by US Task Force

Title: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommends Mandatory Blood Pressure Monitoring for Pregnant Individuals

Word Count: 301

The US Preventive Services Task Force has issued a recommendation advocating for comprehensive blood pressure monitoring throughout pregnancy for all pregnant individuals. The task force particularly emphasizes the importance of screening those without a known diagnosis of a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy or chronic hypertension.

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, such as gestational hypertension and preeclampsia, are a cause for concern among healthcare professionals. These conditions can have severe consequences, affecting both the mother and the unborn child. However, early detection and monitoring can help prevent complications.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, preeclampsia often develops after the 20th week of pregnancy and is more common during the third trimester. It can lead to organ dysfunction and may even result in seizures and stroke.

The US is currently facing a maternal health crisis, with high rates of maternal deaths and complications related to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Recognizing the importance of blood pressure monitoring, the official recommendation seeks to establish a clear treatment plan for healthcare practitioners during routine prenatal visits.

Increasing monitoring during pregnancy aims to reduce the risk of undiagnosed or untreated hypertensive disorders. Statistics from 2017 to 2019 show an upward trend, with the prevalence of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy rising from 13.3% to 15.9% in the US.

Certain groups, such as older women, Black women, and American Indian and Alaska Native women, face a higher risk of developing hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. Social determinants of health and limited access to care contribute to this disparity among communities of color.

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Notably, the task force did not provide a recommendation for post-pregnancy blood pressure monitoring due to insufficient evidence.

To ensure the well-being of both mother and baby, patients should be educated on identifying signs and symptoms of hypertensive disorders. Hospital discharge instructions should include guidance on reaching out to their doctor if they experience specific symptoms or notice abnormal blood pressure readings.

By implementing these recommendations, health professionals hope to improve maternal health outcomes and address the growing concern of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy in the United States.

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