Hispanic Women Face Higher Maternal Health Risks
Higher blood pressure risk is higher for Latinas, a special hazard during pregnancy.
Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of new moms. The American Heart Association, through the new campaign, “My health is our health”/ “Mi salud es nuestra salud” is raising awareness among Hispanic/ Latina moms, especially during pregnancy, about the importance of managing their blood pressure.
On average, about one in every 16 Hispanic women aged 20 and older have coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease.
Hispanic/Latina mothers hold a special place in their homes when it comes to family decisions. They are considered the head of the family for their key role in raising children and teaching younger generations. More than 61% of Hispanic/ Latina mothers are also part of the U.S. workforce.
Juggling multiple roles - from family responsibilities, which often include caring for aging parents, to demanding jobs, and often low wage, may leave them with less time to prioritize their health. In fact, adverse outcomes related to cardiovascular diseases disproportionately affect Hispanic/Latina mothers. These cardiovascular related adverse childbirth outcomes have increased in the U.S., widening racial and ethnic disparities. Hispanic/Latinas prioritize caring for their own health not only for personal benefit but for the health of their children.
The Association’s awareness campaign goal is to reach and engage Latinas through social media, tools and resources shared through strategic alliances to support women during all stages of maternal care, starting with the importance of managing their blood pressure.
Blood pressure is the key vital sign to detecting hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, like preeclampsia. In fact, women of Hispanic ethnicity may develop high blood pressure at a younger age and have a higher average blood pressure than other non-Black racial groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Women can measure their blood pressure at home regularly and inform their trusted medical professional , pharmacist or doctor if it is often above 120/80 mm Hg, which is the Association’s evidence-based threshold for elevated blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure lifestyle, such as getting enough sleep, an adequate amount of exercise, eating heart-healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking, can go a long way to reducing women’s cardiovascular disease risk.
For more information and tips on maternal health and managing blood pressure during all stages of pregnancy, visit: La hipertensión arterial y las mujeres | Go Red for Women and Embarazo y salud materna | Go Red for Women.