6 pregnancy complications could indicate future heart disease, American Heart Association says

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Between 10 percent and 15 percent of women experience adverse pregnancy outcomes, including six that increase the risk of developing heart disease later in life, the American Heart Association said in a statement published March 29 in Circulation.

Here are the six pregnancy complications outlined in the report: 

  1. Gestational hypertension, or high blood pressure during pregnancy
  2. Gestational diabetes 
  3. Preterm delivery  
  4. Small-for-gestational-age delivery 
  5. Pregnancy loss
  6. Placental abruption 

"Adverse pregnancy outcomes are linked to women having hypertension, diabetes, abnormal cholesterol and cardiovascular disease events, including heart attack and stroke, long after their pregnancies," said Nisha Parikh, MD, chair of the statement's writing committee. "Preventing or treating risk factors early can prevent cardiovascular disease, therefore, adverse pregnancy outcomes can be a powerful window into cardiovascular disease prevention if women and their healthcare professionals harness the knowledge and use it for health improvement." 

The statement emphasizes the importance of a healthy diet and outlines ways to improve the transition of care for women who experience these pregnancy complications, including extended postpartum care to screen for risk factors. 

The statement is based on a literature review of studies related to adverse pregnancy outcomes and cardiovascular disease. 

To view the full report click here.

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