Women face increased heart failure risk in the 6 weeks after giving birth

A study published in Circulation: Heart Failure examined the heart failure-related hospitalizations among pregnant women before and after delivery.

Researchers studied 50 million-plus pregnancy-related hospitalizations in the country from 2001 to 2011. They found between 2001 and 2006 there was a 7.1 percent increase per year in heart failure diagnoses among postpartum hospitalizations. Those rates stabilized from 2006 through 2011.

The research shows nearly 60 percent of pregnancy-related heart failure hospitalizations took place during the postpartum period, or six weeks after giving birth. Women who were older and black were most likely to suffer from heart failure during this period.

"This finding lends support to using delivery-related hospitalization as a window of opportunity to identify high-risk women and develop surveillance strategies before discharge," said Mulubrhan Mogos, PhD, the study's lead author and an assistant professor of nursing at University of Illinois at Chicago.

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