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Pregnancy problems may foretell future heart disease

August 1, 2021

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a4a57777-28c0-4796-9bb5-f75843daf5b7Women who develop health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes while they’re pregnant face an increased risk of heart disease later in life, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association published May 4, 2021, in the journal Circulation.

Up to 15% of women experience what doctors refer to as adverse pregnancy outcomes. In addition to high blood pressure and diabetes (known as gestational hypertension and gestational diabetes, respectively), four other pregnancy-related conditions also are associated with cardiovascular risk: preterm birth (giving birth before the 37th week of pregnancy), delivering a small baby (one that weighs less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces), placental abruption (when the placenta separates from the uterus before birth), and stillbirth (death of a baby before delivery).

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