ACOG Green Journal: Pregnancy-Associated Stroke and Outcomes Related to Timing and Hypertensive Disorders

Pregnancy-Associated Stroke and Outcomes Related to Timing and Hypertensive Disorders


To estimate temporal trends of stroke in the peripartum period and to assess the relationship between stroke and maternal adverse outcomes vis-à-vis timing and hypertension.


We conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional study using the National Inpatient Sample to identify hospitalizations with pregnancy-associated stroke in the United States (2016–2019). Temporal trends in pregnancy-associated stroke were examined according to timing of stroke (antepartum vs postpartum) and both prepregnancy and pregnancy hypertensive disorders (yes vs no). Multivariable Poisson regression models with robust error variance were used to examine the association among maternal adverse outcomes, timing of stroke, and hypertensive disorders.


Among 15,977,644 pregnancy hospitalizations, 6,100 hospitalizations (38.2/100,000 hospitalizations) were with pregnancy-associated stroke. Of these, 3,635 (59.6%) had antepartum pregnancy-associated stroke and 2,465 (40.4%) had postpartum pregnancy-associated stroke; alternatively, 2,640 (43.3%) had hypertensive disorders, and 3,460 (56.7%) were without hypertensive disorders. From 2016 to 2019, the overall rate of pregnancy-associated stroke (37.5 to 40.8/100,000 pregnancy hospitalizations, P=.028), rate of postpartum pregnancy-associated stroke (14.6 to 17.6/100,000 pregnancy hospitalizations, P=.005), and rate of pregnancy-associated stroke with hypertensive disorders (14.9 to 17.2/100,000 pregnancy hospitalizations, P=.013) increased. Antepartum pregnancy-associated stroke and pregnancy-associated stroke without hypertensive disorders, however, remained stable. Despite higher risk of maternal morbidity in postpartum stroke hospitalizations, including mechanical ventilation and pneumonia, there was no significant difference in in-hospital mortality between antepartum and postpartum stroke. Similarly, between pregnancy-associated stroke with hypertensive disorders and stroke without hypertensive disorders, an increased risk of mechanical ventilation, seizure, and prolonged hospital stay was seen for stroke with hypertensive disorders without an increase in mortality.


A nationally representative sample of hospitalizations in the United States indicates an increasing trend in the rate of postpartum stroke. Almost half of hospitalizations with pregnancy-associated stroke have concomitant hypertensive disorders. Risk of adverse outcomes, but not mortality, is elevated in patients with stroke occurring in the postpartum period and stroke associated with hypertensive disorders.