A recent study published in the BMJ has found that women who have had major pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth and preeclampsia, may be at an increased risk of ischemic heart disease up to 46 years after delivery. Led by Dr. Casey Crump of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, the study tracked over 2.1 million women in Sweden with no prior history of heart disease who had given birth to a single live infant between 1973 and 2015.
The researchers found that within 10 years of delivery, the risk of heart disease was 1.7-fold higher in those with a history of preterm delivery, 1.5-fold higher in those with preeclampsia, and 2-fold higher in those with other high blood pressure disorders. Women who experienced several adverse pregnancy outcomes showed a further increase in risk.
Though the study could not prove a direct cause and effect relationship, it did suggest that women with a history of adverse pregnancy outcomes should be assessed for long-term risk reduction of ischemic heart disease. This indicates that medical professionals should be aware of the potential long-term implications of adverse pregnancy outcomes and provide appropriate support and guidance.