by Karishma Abhishek on  July 21, 2021 at 11:58 PM Women Health News
Cardiovascular Health of Women Flags Labor Complications
Heart health of a woman before her pregnancy is a strong predictor of labor complications as per a study at the Northwestern Medicine, Chicago, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology.

The incidence of cardiovascular risk factors including obesity and high blood pressure is found to be rising among younger women. Moreover, late pregnancies are inviting additional time for the risk factors to accumulate.

This mandates the need for screening these storm of risk factors among women before her pregnancy. The study included the maternal and fetal data of 18 million women between the ages 15 to 44 (2014 to 2018) from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Pregnancy

The team analyzed the presence of four cardiovascular risk factors - smoking, unhealthy body weight, hypertension, and diabetes before pregnancy in the women.

It was found that more than 60% of women had one or more pre-pregnancy cardiovascular risk factors, with 52.5%, 7.3%, 0.3%, and 0.02% having 1, 2, 3 and 4 risk factors, respectively. The presence of each additional risk factor raised the likelihood of an adverse pregnancy outcome such as maternal intensive care unit (ICU) admission, preterm birth, low birth weight, and fetal death.

"In reality, not all pregnancies are planned, but ideally we would evaluate women well in advance of becoming pregnant, so there is time to optimize their health. We also need to shift our focus toward prioritizing and promoting women's health as a society - so instead of just identifying hypertension, we prevent blood pressure from becoming elevated in the first place," says corresponding author Dr. Sadiya Khan, assistant professor of medicine and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

However, the study affirms the need for a more comprehensive pre-pregnancy cardiovascular assessment rather than individual risk factors.

Source: Medindia

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