Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

New analysis from over 36,000 healthy women in 20 countries suggests that physiological changes during pregnancy may not be as dramatic as traditionally taught. However, average blood pressures do appear to be increasing year on year.

© Shutterstock

Medical text books are based on data that is now over forty years old. New research from researchers at The University of Oxford, and published in BMC Medicine, includes much more recent data. The new findings show that changes to women’s blood pressure and heart rate during pregnancy are not as striking as previously thought.

Traditionally, medical text books have taught students that blood pressure drops by 10-15mmHg during the middle of pregnancy. These text books are based on old data and quite small numbers of pregnant women. This newer and much larger analysis shows that the lower diastolic blood pressures seen mid-pregnancy are on average just 1-2 mmHg lower than the earliest measurements that were taken in about week 10. This is much less of a drop than suggested in the text books. The analysis also shows that, on average, systolic blood pressure rises very slightly through pregnancy.

Read more (University of Oxford website)

Similar stories

EAVI2020: The Quest for an HIV Vaccine

In this long read published to coincide with International AIDS Day, we explore how an international collaboration – of which the University of Oxford is a key partner – has boosted HIV vaccine research. We thank our partners at Imperial College London for allowing us to reproduce and abridge this article.

New SMRU building opened in Thailand to provide health care to marginalized populations

The inauguration of a new joint Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) and Borderland Health Foundation (BHF) Building took place in Mae Ramat, Thailand, this week.

Smoking increases the risks of 56 diseases in Chinese adults

Smoking increases the risks of 56 diseases and kills more than one million adults in China each year from 22 different causes, according to new research published in The Lancet Public Health.

Success for Oxford researchers in The Genetics Society 2023 Awards

Researchers from Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Radcliffe Department of Medicine and Nuffield Department of Population Health have been recgonised in The Genetics Society 2023 awards.

New Studentship honours Enzo Cerundolo

A new Studentship has been announced in memory of the late MRC HIU Director and MRC WIMM Group Leader.