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Friday, July 29, 2011

Pregnancy stroke surge in the US -- sign of our stressful times?

The numbers of US women having a stroke during pregnancy has surged, according to doctors.

The incidents increased from 4,085 in 1994-5 to 6,293 in 2006-7, the journal Stroke suggests.

It is thought other risk factors such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes may be to blame.

The Stroke Association said it was concerned by the sharp increase. Pregnancy is a known - if small - risk factor for stroke.

This study compared data from more than 1,000 hospitals in 1994-5 with 2006-7.

During pregnancy itself, the proportion of women having a stroke increased by 47%, going from 0.15 to 0.22 strokes per 1000 deliveries.

In the 12 weeks after birth there was an increase from 0.12 to 0.22 strokes per 1000 deliveries, an 83% increase.

Dr Elena Kuklina, lead researcher from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said: "I am surprised at the magnitude of the increase, which is substantial. Our results indicate an urgent need to take a closer look." (more)