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CNS Spectr. 2005 Jul;10(7):580-7.

Pregnancy and stroke.

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Department of Neurology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.


The risks of ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, and subarachnoid hemorrhage are not increased in the 9 months of gestation except for a high risk in the 2 days prior and 1 day postpartum. The remaining 6 weeks postpartum also have an increased risk of ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage, though less than the peripartum period. Although there are some rare causes of stroke specific to pregnancy and the postpartum period, eclampsia, cardiomyopathy, postpartum cerebral venous thrombosis, and, possibly, paradoxical embolism warrant special consideration. The diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to stroke during pregnancy and the postpartum period are similar to the approaches in the nonpregnant woman with some minor modifications based on consideration of the welfare of the fetus. There is a theoretical risk of magnetic resonance imaging exposure during the first and second trimester but the benefit to the mother of obtaining the information may outweigh the risk. Available evidence suggests that low-dose aspirin (<150 mg/day) during the second and third trimesters is safe for both mother and fetus. Postpartum use of low-dose aspirin by breast-feeding mother is also safe for infant. While proper counseling is imperative, a history of pregnancy-related stroke should not be a contraindication for subsequent pregnancy.

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