Hypertension and contraceptive use among women of child-bearing age in the United States from 2001 to 2018

UMMS Affiliation

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences; School of Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Cardiovascular Diseases | Epidemiology | Health Services Research | Women's Health


BACKGROUND: Hypertension (HTN) in pregnancy is a leading cause of maternal mortality in the United States. Contraception is widely used, and estrogen-based combined hormonal forms are known to increase blood pressure (BP). With nearly half of pregnancies unplanned and many antihypertensive medications teratogenic, appropriate contraception is critical in child-bearing age women with HTN.

METHODS: Using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 2001 to 2018, we evaluated contraception and antihypertensive medication use in women of child-bearing age (20-50 years). Women who had undergone sterilization or menopause were excluded. HTN was defined based on a self-reported provider diagnosis and BP > /=130/80 mm Hg or antihypertensive medication use. Contraception included non-barrier methods (pills/patch/ring, injections, long-acting reversible contraceptives) or consistent condom use. Multivariable logistic regression was used to model the odds of contraception use. Temporal trends in contraception use were reported.

RESULTS: Of the 8726 women, 12.4% had HTN with mean age (standard error) 36.0 (0.3) years. In women with HTN, 9.2% used non-barrier contraception and 10.4% used condoms only. Over half (52.7%) of women with HTN on antihypertensive medications were taking medications contraindicated in pregnancy, with no difference seen by contraceptive status. In logistic regression models, contraceptive use was lower in the older-aged women. In women with HTN on non-barrier contraception, combined hormonal contraceptive use declined, from 100% (2001-2006) to 81.4% (2013-2018, P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Many women with self-reported HTN are not using adequate contraception. Of the small proportion on non-barrier contraceptives, the majority are using estrogen-based, BP-raising methods.


antihypertensive agents, contraception, hypertension, National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, pregnancy

DOI of Published Version



Kovell LC, Meyerovitz CV, Skaritanov E, Ayturk D, Person SD, Kumaraswami T, Juraschek SP, Moore Simas TA. Hypertension and contraceptive use among women of child-bearing age in the United States from 2001 to 2018. J Hypertens. 2022 Apr 1;40(4):776-784. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000003077. PMID: 35081582. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of hypertension

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed