Task Force Recommends Blood Pressure Monitoring for All Pregnant Individuals

The independent volunteer panel of medical experts concludes that screening for hypertensive disorders in pregnant individuals provides substantial benefits — even in those without a high blood pressure diagnosis.

In a draft recommendation statement, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has expanded its blood pressure screening recommendations to include screening for all hypertensive conditions in all pregnant individuals — even those without a high blood pressure diagnosis. The statement was posted online on February 7 and is open to public comment until March 6, 2023.

This draft aligns with the agency’s 2017 statement that recommended screening for preeclampsia throughout pregnancy.

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In an evidence review, the USPSTF concluded that screening for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy with office-based blood pressure measurement can identify individuals requiring further surveillance and treatment to decrease risks for related adverse pregnancy outcomes.

They also suggest that more research is needed to develop and strengthen clinical screening and management — possibly using telehealth, home-based blood pressure measurement, and postpartum screening.

In addition, the review stresses the need to address troubling and persistent hypertensive disorder-related health inequities of pregnancy among specific populations — especially Black, Native American, Alaskan Native people.

These proposed recommendations mean healthcare providers will likely use blood pressure monitoring at every prenatal visit to look for indicators of other pregnancy-related hypertensive conditions, including preeclampsia, eclampsia, and gestational hypertension.

Currently, the rate of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy seems to be on the rise. According to the CDC, high blood pressure disorders impact at least 1 in 7 deliveries, increasing from 13% in 2017 to 16% in 2019.

The highest prevalence of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy occurred in women over 45 and those who live in rural or lower-income areas.

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