Postpartum physiology, psychology and paediatric follow up study (P4 Study) – Study protocol

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Pregnancy Hypertension, 2016, 6 (4), pp. 374 - 379
Issue Date:
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© 2016 International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy Background Women who have had hypertension in pregnancy are at greater risk of long term cardiovascular disease (CVD). Little is known about their cardiovascular risk postpartum or the effects on the woman's mental health and the outcomes of their infants. In this project we will study the physiological and psychological health of women and the physical health and development of their infants six months, two years and five years after birth. We will establish normal blood pressure (BP) and metabolic function for women who were normotensive in pregnancy and use these to assess women who had gestational hypertension (GH) or preeclampsia (PE). Design/methods Women will be asked to participate if they have given birth in the preceding six months. They will be excluded if they had diabetes, hypertension, renal or other serious maternal disease prior to pregnancy or congenital anomaly in the pregnancy. We will recruit 292 women who were normotensive and their babies, 100 who had GH and 100 who had PE and their babies. They will be assessed at six months, two and five years after birth. At each assessment mothers will have their blood pressure (BP) assessed peripherally with a liquid crystal sphygmomanometer and 24 h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), and centrally with non-invasive applanation tonometry. Additional physiological testing will include: body composition; energy balance; vascular compliance; cardiac function; liver and renal function, lipids and biochemistry; glucose and insulin; and urinalysis. Psychological status will be assessed with validated self-report questionnaires for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mother-infant bonding. The babies will have a medical examination by a paediatrician at each assessment. Their behavioural development will be assessed with an Ages and Stages Questionnaire completed by their mother at each assessment and a developmental assessment by a child psychologist at two and five years. Conclusions This study will re-define normal BP and other physiological parameters for young parous women thereby permitting a more sensitive assessment of post-partum BP and other cardiovascular risk markers in women who have had GH or PE. It will also determine the extent, if any, of psychological disorders in these women and developmental or other concerns in their babies. Trials registration Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Number: ACTRN12613001260718.
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