Angela M Bengtson, Tamsin K Phillips, Stanzi M le Roux, Kirsty Brittain, Allison Zerbe, Hlengiwe P Madlala, Thokozile R Malaba, Gregory Petro, Elaine J Abrams, Landon Myer
Objective: To examine associations between high blood pressure (BP) when entering antenatal care (ANC) and birth outcomes in a cohort of pregnant HIV- and women living with HIV (WLHIV) initiating antiretroviral treatment (ART).
Study design: Prospective cohort study.
Main outcome measures: Cesarean delivery, preterm birth (<37 weeks’ gestation), low birthweight (LBW, <2500 g), small-for-gestational age (SGA, <10th percentile), and large-for-gestational age (LGA, >10th percentile for GA).
Results: Of 1116 women (median GA 20 weeks; WLHIV 53%), 48% (53% WLHIV; 43% HIV-) entered ANC with high BP, defined as elevated (120-129 or < 80 mmHg), stage 1 (>130-139 or 80-89) or stage 2 hypertension (≥140 / or ≥ 90). WLHIV were more likely to have high BP (RR 1.32; 95%CI 1.12-1.57), controlling for pre-pregnancy body mass index and additional confounders. In multivariable analysis, there was no evidence that high BP increased the risk of cesarean delivery (RR 1.10, 95% CI 0.92-1.30), preterm birth (RR 1.15, 95% CI 0.81-1.62), LBW (RR 1.16, 95% CI 0.84-1.60) or SGA (RR 1.02, 0.72-1.44), overall or when stratified by HIV-status. High BP was associated with an increased risk of LGA (RR 1.43; 95% CI 1.00-2.03).
Conclusion: In this setting, half of women had high BP at entry into ANC, with WLHIV at increased risk of high BP. There was no strong evidence that high BP increased the risk of adverse birth outcomes overall, or by HIV-status, with the exception of LGA. WLHIV may be at high risk of high BP during pregnancy and should be monitored closely.