blood pressure monitorA study published in BMC Public Health reveals a connection between education levels and increased blood pressure during pregnancy. However, when the results were filtered based on BMI, the correlation diminished. BMI could play an important role in increased blood pressure associated with educational level.

Researchers collected blood pressure measurements from 923 participants prior to the 16th week of pregnancy and again at 20 weeks gestation. Participants were placed in one of three educational groups – low education (maximum high school or vocational training), mid education (junior college) and high education (university level education or higher). Women in the low education group were more likely to have increased blood pressure readings. All blood pressure readings lowered naturally during the second trimester of pregnancy.

When researchers took BMI into consideration, the results could not be repeated. BMI appears to be the catalytic factor in increased blood pressure and educational level.

Source: Jwa SC, Fujiwara T, Hata A, Arata N, Sago H, Ohya Y. BMI mediates the association between low educational level and higher blood pressure during pregnancy in Japan. BMC Public Health. 2013 Apr 25;13(1):389.