Remote blood pressure monitoring may stave off postpartum health issues for those with preeclampsia

Penn Medicine’s remote heart-monitoring program, Heart Safe Motherhood, is likely to drive down total health care costs for the new mothers.

New mothers with high blood pressure who participated in a postpartum remote blood pressure monitoring program were less likely to have post-partum complications, hospitalizations, and incurred less health care costs in the six months after delivery compared to mothers with high blood pressure who did not participate, according to a multiyear study from the Perelman School of Medicine. The results, which spanned four years of data, are published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Parent holding newborn baby.
Image: iStock/x-reflexnaja

Heart Safe Motherhood is a two-way text message-based program created and studied at Penn Medicine, which makes blood pressure monitoring after giving birth more convenient and links patients directly with their care teams from home. In the United States, preeclampsia, a high blood pressure condition, occurs during 1 in 25 pregnancies, and high blood pressure can continue or develop after delivery. While patients with preeclampsia, should have close blood pressure follow-up appointments after birth, many patients are unable to attend their recommended appointments due to schedule conflicts, childcare issues, or their babies’ appointments.

Patients who participate in the program receive twice-daily reminders to check their blood pressure and then send the results directly to their care team via text message through this program. If clinicians note any issues, they can quickly take action to provide care, including making changes to their medication or coming into the office for a visit, or, in more serious situations, going to the emergency department.

“Our previous work showed that Heart Safe Motherhood made important blood pressure monitoring easier and eliminated racial disparities in obtaining blood pressures in the two weeks after giving birth,” says study author Adi Hirshberg, director of obstetrical services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, who along with senior author of this study, Sindhu Srinivas, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Penn, developed Heart Safe Motherhood. “What this study really solidified is that the benefits continue long-term. Close but remote tracking of blood pressure during this short yet pivotal time led to healthier moms months later.”

Read more at Penn Medicine News.