A new report has suggested that the number of mothers-to-be suffering strokes in the US has increased by almost half over the space of a decade, with pre-existing conditions singled out as possible causes.
According to a study recently published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, there was a 47 per cent rise in hospitalisations from stroke between 1995 and 2007, although the overall risk remains very low.
"More and more women entering pregnancy already have some type of risk factor for stroke, such as obesity, chronic hypertension, diabetes or congenital heart disease," said epidemiologist Elena Kuklina of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
The Stroke Association's Dr Sharlin Ahmed admitted to being "concerned" by the research's findings, urging women to take pre-emptive steps to reduce the risk of suffering an attack during pregnancy.
Earlier this week, experts from the University of Michigan claimed post-traumatic stress disorder - particularly prevalent in groups lower down the socioeconomic scale - can trigger premature birth.