During and soon after pregnancy, your risk for stroke is higher. Although pregnancy-related stroke is not common, the number of women who have a stroke during or soon after pregnancy is going up.6,7 This is likely because more women have other risk factors for stroke, including heart disease, overweight and obesity, and high blood pressure, during pregnancy.
The increased risk for stroke during pregnancy comes from several changes that happen to your body during pregnancy, such as increased blood clotting. Your body also makes more blood during pregnancy. After birth, these changes reverse rapidly, and this can trigger a stroke.
Some women are more at risk for pregnancy-related stroke. You may be more at risk if you:8
- Are African-American
- Are older than 35
- Have lupus
- Have migraine headaches
The best way to lower the risk of stroke during pregnancy is to control your stroke risk factors before you get pregnant.