Pre-pregnancy blood pressure and pregnancy outcomes: a nationwide population-based study

Young Mi Jung, Gyu Chul Oh, Eunjin Noh, Hae Young Lee, Min Jeong Oh, Joong Shin Park, Jong Kwan Jun, Seung Mi Lee, Geum Joon Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Hypertension has been known to increase the risk of obstetric complications. Recently, the American College of Cardiology endorsed lower thresholds for hypertension as systolic blood pressure of 130-139 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure 80-89 mmHg. However, there is a paucity of information regarding the impact of pre-pregnancy blood pressure on pregnancy outcomes. We aimed to evaluate the effect of pre-pregnancy blood pressure on maternal and neonatal complications. Methods: In this nationwide, population based study, pregnant women without history of hypertension and pre-pregnancy blood pressure < 140/90 mmHg were enrolled. The primary outcome of composite morbidity was defined as any of the followings: preeclampsia, placental abruption, stillbirth, preterm birth, or low birth weight. Results: A total of 375,305 pregnant women were included. After adjusting for covariates, the risk of composite morbidity was greater in those with stage I hypertension in comparison with the normotensive group (systolic blood pressure, odds ratio = 1.68, 95% CI: 1.59 – 1.78; diastolic blood pressure, odds ratio = 1.56, 95% CI: 1.42 – 1.72). There was a linear association between pre-pregnancy blood pressure and the primary outcome, with risk maximizing at newly defined stage I hypertension and with risk decreasing at lower blood pressure ranges. Conclusions: ‘The lower, the better’ phenomenon was still valid for both maternal and neonatal outcomes. Our results suggest that the recent changes in diagnostic thresholds for hypertension may also apply to pregnant women. Therefore, women with stage I hypertension prior to pregnancy should be carefully observed for adverse outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number226
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Adverse pregnancy outcome
  • blood pressure
  • hypertension
  • preeclampsia


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