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Risk of Stroke Appears to Be Up in Younger Pregnant Women

For women ages 12 to 24, pregnancy linked to more than double the risk of stroke

pregnant woman

TUESDAY, Oct. 25, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnancy may raise the risk of stroke in younger women, when compared to their non-pregnant peers, according to a study published online Oct. 24 in JAMA Neurology.

Eliza Miller, M.D., a vascular neurology fellow with New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues studied statistics on women who had cerebrovascular events in New York state from 2003 to 2012.

The researchers found 19,146 cases of females aged 12 to 55 hospitalized with stroke, including 797 that occurred during pregnancy or within six weeks of delivery. The overall incidence of pregnancy-associated stroke was higher in older women, 46.9 per 100,000 deliveries in the oldest group (ages 45 to 55), versus 14.0 per 100,000 deliveries in the youngest group (ages 12 to 24).

However, statistical analysis showed that when these women were compared to their age-matched peers who were not pregnant, "pregnancy increased stroke risk significantly in women under 35, but did not appear to increase stroke risk in women over 35," Miller told HealthDay. "In the youngest group, ages 12 to 24, pregnancy was associated with more than double the risk of stroke. And in the 25-to-34 age group, pregnancy was associated with a 60 percent increased risk of stroke. In women 35 and older, pregnancy did not appear to increase stroke risk."

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