Stroke is a recognised complication of pregnancy, contributing to more than 12% of all maternal deaths. Estimated incidence rates vary considerably from 4.3 to 210 strokes per 100 000 deliveries. Atherosclerosis is rare in young adults, and so other causes of stroke become increasingly likely. Aetiological factors important in pregnancy include hypercoagulability due to maternal physiological changes, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, cerebral venous thrombosis, paradoxical embolism, postpartum cerebral angiopathy and peripartum cardiomyopathy. Management of patients with pregnancy-related stroke should generally proceed as for non-pregnant patients, although there are a number of important areas specific to pregnancy which will be considered here.
- cerebrovascular disorders
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Competing interests: None declared.
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