Examination of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes among pregnant women in the United States: A cross-sectional analysis of BRFSS

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Background: Chronic conditions including hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes mellitus are known risk factors for severe complications during pregnancy and can lead to maternal death— a burgeoning health crisis that impacts hundreds of women in the United States each year. While studies have been completed to measure the rates of maternal mortality and hospitalization, there have been no recent ventures to quantify the presence of mortality risk factors in pregnant women. The primary objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of these chronic conditions among pregnant women and determine associated risk factors.

Study Design: A cross-sectional analysis of 2017, 2018, and 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys was completed. Inclusion of participants was dependent upon the respondents answering “Yes” to the question: “To your knowledge, are you now pregnant,” which was asked of all women between 18 and 49 years of age. Data extracted included socio-demographic variables, lifestyle behaviors, and the presence of comorbid diagnoses. Population estimates, prevalence rates, and adjusted odds ratios (AORs) were calculated. A post hoc multinomial regression analysis was conducted to determine risk factors associated with race.

Results: This sample consisted of 7,101 pregnant women (N = 2,308,485). Of the pregnant respondents, 46.7% were over the age of 30; 19% over the age of 35. More than 1 in 10 women lacked healthcare coverage. Age was significantly associated with all three chronic conditions while having children in the household or a college degree were associated with lower odds of having hypertension (AOR: 0.79 95%CI: 0.65-0.96 and AOR: 0.31; 95%CI: 0.16-0.61, respectively). Being a current smoker was associated with an increased risk of hypertension (AOR: 2.35; 95%CI: 1.39-3.98). Diabetes among pregnant women was associated with having healthcare coverage (AOR: 1.84; 95%CI: 1.17-2.89), drinking alcohol within the past 30 days (AOR: 1.62; 95%CI: 1.02-2.60), and being Asian American (compared to white women; AOR: 2.32; 95%CI: 1.21-4.45). The post hoc analysis showed that race was significantly associated with risk factors associated with pregnancy complications.

Conclusions: Our findings add to existing literature and showed that risk factors for childbirth and maternal mortality were more prevalent among women bearing children later in life and that Black and Hispanic pregnant women were more likely to have risk factors associated with these conditions. Opportunities for improvements are contingent on understanding risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, monitoring the changing maternal population, and creating policy initiatives at the community, state, and national levels.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 22 Feb 2021
EventOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Days 2021: Poster presentation - Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Campus, Tulsa, United States
Duration: 22 Feb 202126 Feb 2021


ConferenceOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Days 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic disease
  • Maternal Mortality


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