APR 30, 2020 8:30 PM PDT

Pregnancy Issues May be Associated with Future Heart Problems

WRITTEN BY: Lawrence Renna

New research presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session virtual meeting found that a history of adverse pregnancy outcomes was associated with an increased risk of heart problems in the future. The work was presented by Priya P. Mehta, MD, a cardiology fellow at Northwestern University.

The study analyzed data from 936 women, with an average age of 24 years, and a demographic group that was 47% black. The data was collected from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. All 936 women had at least one live birth, did not have diabetes, hypertension, or heart failure prior to pregnancy. Also, the subjects underwent an echocardiogram before the age of 30 years.

The adverse pregnancy outcomes considered in this study were gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, low birth weight (i.e., less than 2,500 g), and preterm birth earlier than 37 weeks. Of the 936 women in the study, 35% self-reported at least one adverse pregnancy outcome over 1.8 births.

According to the study, at 30 years of age, women who had adverse pregnancy outcomes were more likely to have risk factors including higher blood pressure and a higher body mass index. The study concluded that “pregnancies complicated by low birth weight may be an independent sex-specific risk factor for [heart failure].” After adjusting for risk factors (including age, race, education, total parity, smoking, body mass index, blood pressure, and diabetes), global longitudinal strain, which can play a significant role in predicting cardiovascular outcomes, was lower in women who had low birth weight pregnancies 

According to the self-reported data: “approximately 1 in 3 women reported a history of an [adverse pregnancy outcome] highlighting the importance of targeting [risk factors] in young women of reproductive age, particular[ly] following an [adverse pregnancy outcome]."

"Pregnancies complicated by low birth weight may be an independent sex-specific risk factor for [heart failure]."


Sources: Helio.com, AMITA Health, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Hello! I am a scientist currently living in Southern California, although I am originally from the east coast. I received my B.S. in Chemistry from Northeastern University in 2012, and my Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I also had a postdoctoral appointment at the University of California, Irvine. I have written 25+ peer-reviewed articles, several patents, and one book chapter. I am a reviewer for scientific manuscripts, and a freelance editor and writer. Outside of science, I enjoy spending time with my family, training Jiu-Jitsu, and baking sourdough bread. I am happy to be writing for LabRoots.
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