Skip to main content

Maternal health outcomes after pregnancy-associated stroke: a population-based study with 19 years of follow-up

Yu AYX, Nerenberg KA, Diong C, Fang J, Chu A, Kapral MK, Edwards JD, Dancey SR, Austin PC, Auger N. Stroke. 2023; 54(2):337-44. Epub 2023 Jan 23. DOI:

Background — Pregnancy-associated stroke carries high short-term morbidity and mortality, but data on subsequent maternal outcomes are limited. We evaluated long-term maternal health outcomes after pregnancy-associated stroke.

Methods — In this retrospective cohort study, we used administrative data to identify pregnant adults aged ≤49 years with stroke between 2002-2020 in Ontario, Canada and 2 comparison groups: (1) non-pregnant female patients with stroke and (2) pregnant patients without stroke. Patients who survived the index admission were followed until 2021. After propensity score matching, we used Cox regression with a robust variance estimator to compare pregnant patients with stroke and the 2 comparison groups for the composite outcome of death and all-cause non-pregnancy readmission. Where proportional hazard assumption was not met, we reported time-varying hazard ratios (HR) with 95% CIs by modeling the log-hazard ratio as a function of time using restricted cubic splines.

Results — We identified 217 pregnant patients with stroke, 7604 non-pregnant patients with stroke, and 1 496 256 pregnant patients without stroke. Of the 202 pregnant patients with stroke who survived the index stroke admission, 41.6% (6.8 per 100 person-years) subsequently died or were readmitted during follow-up. Median follow-up times were 5 years (pregnancy-associated stroke), 3 years (non-pregnant stroke), and 8 years (pregnant without stroke). Pregnant patients with stroke had a lower hazard of death and all-cause readmission compared with non-pregnant patients with stroke at 1-year follow-up (HR, 0.64 [95% CI, 0.44–0.94]), but this association did not persist during longer-term follow-up. Conversely, pregnant patients with stroke had higher hazard of death and readmission compared with pregnant patients without stroke at 1-year follow-up (HR, 5.70 [95% CI, 3.04–10.66]), and this association persisted for a decade.

Conclusions — Stroke during pregnancy is associated with long-term health consequences. It is essential to transition care postpartum to primary or specialty care to optimize vascular health.