Most women have poor heart health before pregnancy, study finds 

More than half of women between 20 and 44 who gave birth in the U.S. in 2019 had at least one cardiovascular risk factor, according to a study published Feb. 14 in Circulation

Researchers from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago analyzed data from 2016 to 2019 in the CDC's natality database to identify pre-pregnancy heart health risk factors of 14,174,625 women with live births.

Key findings: 

  • The overall percentage of women experiencing optimal pre-pregnancy heart health declined more than 3 percent over the course of the three years.

  • More than half the women had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease before becoming pregnant.

  • Being overweight or obese was the most common reasons for poor heart health before pregnancy.

This study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.

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