Hypertension disorders in pregnancy (HDP) account for most pregnancy-related hospital admissions in the modern United States. Related complications are the greatest cause of maternal morbidity and mortality worldwide (Ouasmani et al., 2018). Most pregnancy-related hypertension complications result from inadequate health education and a lack of early detection procedures (Ouasmani et al., 2018). Prevention and management is a critical clinical initiative being explored in numerous recent studies.
The first article concerns patient education’s role in early detection. It is a qualitative research study examining the knowledge of HDP amongst pregnant Moroccan women living in Morocco and the Netherlands (Ouasmani et al., 2018). The researchers interviewed nineteen participants questioning their knowledge of HDP, its symptoms, risk factors, complications, and treatment. The Creswell open coding method was applied to interview transcripts until the most frequently mentioned key units emerged. Half had never heard of HDP, and their knowledge of HDP symptoms was fragmented and mostly gleaned from personal or secondhand experience (Ouasmani et al., 2018). They received little to no information from healthcare professionals (Ouasmani et al., 2018). The researchers concluded that all women lack understanding of HDP, regardless of socioeconomic background.
In general, the premise of conducting a study on the same ethnic group in different geographical locations with varying education levels and access to healthcare is promising. However, the validity of the results is undermined by the researchers’ lack of clarity and details. There is no description of how the nineteen women were selected for interviews or if their sociodemographic background is representative of the general population. The primary caregiver of all women, barring one, was a midwife, which makes it impossible to draw a conclusion about general healthcare patient education standards. Additionally, the researchers failed to present detailed data classified by geographical location. Instead, they generalized the knowledge of all the participants with vague qualifiers such as “some…”, “most…”, and “almost all women” (Ouasmani et al., 2018, pp. 3-7). If the results of both Moroccan-based and Dutch-based participants will be combined with no differentiation, there seems to be no point in conducting research in two locations. The study points to a major issue in health literacy among pregnant women, which might serve as motivation for further research, but its scope is too limited to make any generalized conclusions.
While one facet of prevention is patient education, other researchers are focusing on finding testable physical markers of developing HDP. It is currently accepted that the disorder is caused by various factors, including heredity, immunodeficiency, and certain vitamin deficiency (He et al., 2016). He, Lang, Li, Liu, and Yao (2016) conducted a meta-analysis on the concentration of magnesium, calcium, and zinc in pregnant women with HDP and healthy pregnant controls. Two independent reviewers extracted data using relevant keywords from HDP-related studies involving humans published in English or Chinese. Fifteen studies satisfied their criteria and were analyzed using Review Manager5.3. It was revealed that zinc, calcium, and magnesium levels are significantly decreased in HDP patients and thus need to be closely monitored.
The paper was supported by clear explanations of data collection procedures and inferred statistics. However, the criteria for articles included in the analysis did not include validity or threshold sample size, which diminishes the study’s statistical relevance. There is no information on how similar their methodology was and how comparable the results were besides mentioning that similar keywords linked them. Despite the glaring flaws that generally haunt meta-analyses, this paper provides an interesting insight into HDP-related vitamin deficiency and might serve as complementary information to a larger-scale study. However, the link between zinc, magnesium, and calcium deficiency and HDP is still too precarious to justify stringent monitoring or prescription.
In conclusion, hypertension disorders in pregnancy are one of the most serious complications in global obstetrics today. Given how prevalent and avoidable the problem is, proper prevention and management procedures must be implemented. These studies point to a current lack of patient education and monitoring techniques. While they contribute to our general understanding of HDP, even more research needs to be done to make definitive steps in the healthcare industry.
He, L., Lang, L., Li, Y., Liu, Q., & Yao, Y. (2016). Comparison of serum zinc, calcium, and magnesium concentrations in women with pregnancy-induced hypertension and healthy pregnant women: a meta-analysis. Hypertension in pregnancy, 35(2), 202-209. Web.
Ouasmani, F., Engeltjes, B., Haddou Rahou, B., Belayachi, O., & Verhoeven, C. (2018). Knowledge of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy of Moroccan women in Morocco and in the Netherlands: a qualitative interview study. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 18(1), 1-11. Web.