High Rate of Preeclampsia Underscores Need for New Strategies, Study Finds

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Preeclampsia rates have risen steadily since the 1980s
Preeclampsia rates have risen steadily since the 1980s

HealthDay News — Rates of preeclampsia continue to increase in the United States, exacting a significant economic toll, according to a study published online July 11 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Researchers examined financial data for the impact of preeclampsia in the first year of life. They put the overall national cost at $1.03 billion for mothers and $1.15 billion for infants. Gestational age at delivery was a major factor in the cost for infants, ranging from $282,570 at less than 28 weeks to $6,013 at 37 or more weeks. 

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The findings are particularly important because preeclampsia cases rose from 2.4% of pregnancies in 1980 to 3.8% in 2010, the researchers said. Mothers with preeclampsia and their infants had a significantly increased risk of health complications compared to those without preeclampsia. The average gestational age was reduced by 1.7 weeks in preeclampsia cases.

"Rising rates of preeclampsia threaten the health and well-being of mothers and babies," write the authors of an accompanying editorial. "Although preeclampsia has affected pregnant women for millennia, there is still much we do not know. This new research underscores the urgent need to continue research into its causes and to implement strategies that may help women manage this condition."

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