Of all the things most moms-to-be worry about during pregnancy, having a stroke isn't one of them.
But a new study based on a huge sample of national hospital discharge records suggests that more expectant mothers than ever are suffering these dangerous brain injuries during and just after pregnancy.
Rates of stroke rose by 54 percent in the dozen years between 1994-95 and 2006-07, according to research just published in the journal Stroke. Almost all of the increase is explained by skyrocketing rates of high blood pressure and heart disease, said the lead author, Dr. Elena Kuklina, a stroke expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The problem is still rare, but it's happening more and more. Just ask Rachel Eagly of Lansing, Mich. She was just 25 and home with her week-old baby boy when a blood vessel burst in her brain. Five years later, she still has trouble speaking, walking and using her right arm.
"I didn't know what a stroke was. I thought old people had strokes, nothing I that I needed to worry about," she said. "If I would have known the symptoms, I would have gone to the ER way earlier."
Read the full story: Strokes spike in pregnant women, new moms
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