Original Research| Volume 5, ISSUE 3, 100841, March 2023

Maternal hemodynamic profile during pregnancy and in the post-partum in hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and fetal growth restriction

Published:December 20, 2022DOI:


      Maternal cardiovascular changes, occurring since the beginning of pregnancy, are necessary for normal placentation and regular evolution of pregnancy.


      This study aimed to compare the hemodynamic profiles and cardiac remodeling of women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and either appropriate for gestational age fetuses or growth-restricted fetuses, women with normotensive pregnancies complicated by fetal growth restriction, and women with uncomplicated pregnancies, during pregnancy and the postpartum period.


      A prospective longitudinal case–control design was used for this study. Over the study period, 220 eligible women with singleton pregnancies were selected for the analysis and divided into 4 groups: (1) hypertensive disorders of pregnancy with appropriate for gestational age fetuses; (2) hypertensive disorders of pregnancy with fetal growth restriction; (3) normotensive fetal growth restriction; and (4) controls. Ultrasound fetal biometry and fetoplacental Doppler velocimetry were performed at recruitment. Maternal hemodynamic assessment using transthoracic echocardiography was performed at the time of recruitment by a dedicated cardiologist blinded to maternal clinical data. The same assessments were performed in 104 patients at 32 weeks (interquartile range, 24–40) after delivery by the same cardiologist.


      During pregnancy, women in the hypertensive-disorders-of-pregnancy–fetal-growth-restriction group showed significantly lower cardiac output and increased compared with those in the control group. These values were associated with concentric remodeling of the left ventricle owing to relatively increased wall thickness, which was not accompanied by an increase in left ventricular mass. Isolated fetal growth restriction presented similar but less important hemodynamic changes; however, there was no change in relative wall thickness. At postpartum follow-up, the hemodynamic parameters of women in the hypertensive-disorders-of-pregnancy–fetal-growth-restriction and isolated-fetal-growth-restriction groups reverted to values similar to those of the control group. Only 8.3% of women in these groups experienced hypertension even in the postpartum period, and asymptomatic stage-B cardiac failure was observed for 17% at echocardiography. In the group of women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and appropriate for gestational age fetuses, cardiac output increased as in normal pregnancies, but total vascular resistance was significantly higher; hypertension then occurred, along with ventricular concentric hypertrophy and diastolic dysfunction. At postpartum follow-up, women in the hypertensive-disorders-of-pregnancy–appropriate-for-gestational-age-fetus group showed significantly higher mean arterial pressure, total vascular resistance, and left ventricular mass compared with those in the control group. Persistent hypertension and asymptomatic stage-B cardiac failure were observed in 39.1% and 13% of women in the former group, respectively.


      Pregnancies with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and fetal growth restriction and normotensive pregnancies with fetal growth restriction were associated with the hemodynamic profile of lower heart rate and cardiac output, most likely because of abnormal adaptation to pregnancy, as confirmed by abnormal changes from pregnancy to the postpartum period. The heart rates and cardiac output of women in the hypertensive-disorders-of-pregnancy–appropriate-for-gestational-age-fetus group showed changes opposite to those observed in the hypertensive-disorders-of-pregnancy–fetal-growth-restriction and fetal-growth-restriction groups. Obesity and other metabolic risk factors, significantly prevalent in women in the hypertensive-disorders-of-pregnancy–appropriate-for-gestational-age-fetus group, predispose to hypertension and cardiovascular diseases during pregnancy and the postpartum period, potentially offering a window for personalized prevention. Such preventive strategies could differ in women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and fetal growth restriction characterized by poor early placental development.

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