Pregnancy and Stroke Risk in Women

Jessica Tate; Cheryl Bushnell

Disclosures

Women's Health. 2011;7(3):363-374. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Stroke, the sudden onset of brain dysfunction from a vascular cause, is one of the most common causes of long-term disability. Although rare during childbearing years, stroke is even more devastating when it occurs in a young woman trying to start a family. Pregnancy and the postpartum period are associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage, although the incidence estimates have varied. There are several causes of stroke that are in fact unique to pregnancy and the postpartum period, such as preeclampsia and eclampsia, amniotic fluid embolus, postpartum angiopathy and postpartum cardiomyopathy. Data regarding these individual entities are scant. Most concerning is the lack of data regarding both prevention and acute management of pregnancy-related stroke. The purpose of this article is to summarize existing data regarding incidence, risk factors and potential etiologies, as well as treatment strategies for stroke in pregnancy.

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