Blood pressure change across pregnancy in white British and Pakistani women: analysis of data from the Born in Bradford cohort

Publication authors

Diane Farrar, Gillian Santorelli, Debbie A. Lawlor, Derek Tuffnell, Trevor A. Sheldon, Jane West & Corrie Macdonald-Wallis


The incidence of gestational hypertension (GH) and pre-eclampsia (PE) is increasing. Use of blood pressure (BP) change patterns may improve early detection of BP abnormalities. We used Linear spline random-effects models to estimate BP patterns across pregnancy for white British and Pakistani women. Pakistani women compared to white British women had lower BP during the first two trimesters of pregnancy, irrespective of the development of GH or PE or presence of a risk factor. Pakistani compared to white British women with GH and PE showed steeper BP increases towards the end of pregnancy. Pakistani women were half as likely to develop GH, but as likely to develop PE than white British women. To conclude; BP trajectories differ by ethnicity. Because GH developed evenly from 20 weeks gestation, and PE occurred more commonly after 36 weeks in both ethnic groups, the lower BP up to the third trimester in Pakistani women resulted in a lower GH rate, whereas PE rates, influenced by the steep third trimester BP increase were similar. Criteria for diagnosing GH and PE may benefit from considering ethnic differences in BP change across pregnancy.