health as it happens

How a woman's heart health can affect pregnancy outcomes - Cardiovascular Business

Adverse pregnancy outcomes are associated with long-term risk for cardiometabolic disease in women and their offspring, according to a new analysis of more than 18 million pregnancies.

The authors conducted a cross-sectional analysis of maternal and fetal data from the National Center for Health Statistics, sharing their findings in  the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Date from the study revealed that cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, smoking and diabetes in women prior to pregnancy have been linked with higher risk for maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.

The authors also found that the probability of key pregnancy complications maternal ICU admission, preterm birth, low birthweight and fetal death increased incrementally with the number of pre-pregnancy cardiovascular risk factors.

More than 60% of women included in the analysis had one or more pre-pregnancy cardiovascular risk factors (52.5%, 7.3%, 0.3%, and 0.02% had 1, 2, 3, and 4 risk factors, respectively).

Compared to women with no pre-pregnancy risk factors, those with all four risk factors (3,242 women) had an approximately 5.8-fold higher risk for ICU admission, 3.9-fold higher risk for preterm birth, 2.8-fold higher risk for low birthweight, and 8.7-fold higher risk for fetal death.

“Individual cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension, present before pregnancy have been associated with poor outcomes for both mother and baby,” lead author Sadiya Khan, MD, with the department of preventive medicine at   Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). “Our study now shows a dose-dependent relationship between the number of risk factors and several complications. These data underscore that improving overall heart health before pregnancy needs to be a priority.”