Study Reveals Possible Link Between High-Normal Blood Pressure In Pregnancy and Metabolic Syndrome

A new study suggests pregnant women diagnosed with high-normal range blood pressure could have a higher risk for metabolic syndrome after their baby is born.

Metabolic syndrome is marked as having three or more types of conditions:

Doctor measuring blood pressure of pregnant woman

  • Stomach obesity
  • Low HDL (good) cholesterol levels
  • High blood sugar levels
  • High blood pressure
  • High triglyceride levels

All of this could lead to a higher chance of developing heart disease.

The study looked at 507 pregnant women in China with no previous history of high blood pressure. 34 percent of the women had a low-to-normal blood pressure level during their pregnancy. 52 percent were found to have readings in the mid-to-normal range with 13 percent experiencing high-normal readings.

Women diagnosed with high-normal blood pressure during their pregnancy had a nearly seven times higher chance of developing metabolic syndrome after they gave birth compared to those with low-normal blood pressure range.


This is the first study showing a possible cause and effect of high-normal blood pressure during pregnancy with the higher chance of metabolic syndrome development.

According to the findings, clinical practice has often ignored this issue that the criteria for hypertension in pregnancy come from the general population.

Dr. Jian-Min-Niu from China’s Guangdong Women and Children Hospital said that additional research would likely affirm the first study, which could lead to a change in what is thought to be healthy blood pressure for pregnant women.


Niu said blood pressure readings are typically a part of pregnancy check-ups, so using the information to determine what a women’s chance of heart disease and stroke later in life would be both effective and easy.

Niu said early recognition of these factors and implementing certain lifestyle adjustments could postpone the start of cardiovascular disease that could appear 30 years after the woman has given birth.