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Pregnancy Complications Can Increase Future Heart Disease Risk In Mothers

Heart Disease Risk in Pregnancy
Photo From Wix

Being pregnant is a unique and exciting time but it can also bring obstacles. Your body goes through many significant changes during these nine months, and handling more than twenty side effects and symptoms can be overwhelming. These may include bloating, nausea, acne, swelling in the extremities, and water retention. It’s okay to feel challenged but remember that these are all typical aspects of pregnancy. You’re not alone, and caring for yourself during this time is essential.

Pregnancy side effects can indeed be challenging to deal with. Still, it’s important to remember that they typically go away once the baby is born. Despite the discomfort, many mothers find the experience of carrying a baby to be incredibly rewarding and worth it in the end.

In addition to the side effects, six pregnancy-related complications can threaten every mother’s life if not addressed effectively. These complications include:

  1. High blood pressure in pregnancy: This is also called gestational hypertension and describes blood pressure equal to or higher than 140/90 mmHg.

  2. Preeclampsia: Physicians consider Preeclampsia when the mother has gestational hypertension and some organ damage such as liver, kidney, or other.

  3. Gestational Diabetes is the new onset of Type 2 Diabetes during pregnancy.

  4. Preterm Delivery before the 37th week is also considered abnormal and causes pregnancy complications.

  5. Placental abruption or separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus before childbirth.

  6. Stillbirth or death of a baby before Delivery

Studies suggest the occurrence of one or more of the mentioned complications puts the mother and baby’s health and well-being at not only risk but also risks that can extend to later in life for the mother.

Reducing Heart Disease Risk and Treatment of Complications During Pregnancy

Further evaluations of the latter findings show that each complication increases Heart Disease Risk in Pregnancy to varying degrees in the future. For instance, gestational hypertension increases a mother’s risk of cardiovascular disease by 67% and the chances of a stroke by 83%.

Likewise, Preeclampsia is a more severe disorder, thus increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life 2.7 folds.

Gestational Diabetes raises the mother’s risk of cardiovascular disease by 68% and the risk of Type 2 diabetes after pregnancy 10-fold. Placenta abruption does the same by 82%, whereas preterm Delivery and stillbirth can double the cardiovascular event.

Additional studies suggest that post-pregnancy cardiovascular events may happen earlier in life. (as early as 40 years of age) That is also applicable to those occurring during the first pregnancy.

Despite overwhelming evidence relating pregnancy complications to increased cardiovascular events in the future, further investigations are still necessary. That pertains to the accuracy of these observations and how we can prevent or reduce such events for the mother later in life.

It is unclear if effective prevention and treatment of complications during pregnancy can also reduce future events. That is even more intricate as complications like Preeclampsia may be, at times, challenging to manage, given the limitations associated with ensuring the baby’s safety by minimizing the baby’s exposure to drug side effects.


  1. Panaitescu, Anca Maria et al. “Pregnancy Complications Can Foreshadow Future Disease-Long-Term Outcomes of a Complicated Pregnancy.” Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania) vol. 57,12 1320. 1 Dec. 2021, doi:10.3390/medicina57121320

  2. Fertility, R.R., 2019. 20 Common & Weird Side Effects of Pregnancy | Red Rock Fertility Center [WWW Document]. Red Rock Fertility Center. URL (accessed 2.9.23).Six pregnancy complications are among red flags for heart disease later in life [WWW Document], 2021. American Heart Association. URL (accessed 2.9.23).

  3. Pregnancy complications could increase a woman's stroke risk at an earlier age [WWW Document], n.d. Pregnancy complications could increase a woman's stroke risk at an earlier age | American Heart Association. URL (accessed 2.9.23).First-time pregnancy complications linked to increased risk of hypertension later in life [WWW Document], 2019. National Institutes of Health (NIH). URL (accessed 2.9.23).

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