Study finds previous cardiovascular health impacts pregnancy complications


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

A sign outside Feinberg. A Northwestern Medicine study found cardiovascular health prior to pregnancy has a significant relationship to the likelihood of pregnancy complications.

Jacob Fulton, Summer Editor

Cardiovascular health prior to pregnancy has a significant relationship with the likelihood of pregnancy complications, a Northwestern Medicine study found. 

Four risk factors — smoking, diabetes, hypertension and unhealthy body weight — increase the likelihood of an adverse pregnancy outcome, according to the study, which was published Tuesday in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. 

However, these factors don’t just individually affect a pregnancy’s risk, the study found. Instead, the factors compound to increase the likelihood of an adverse outcome, Feinberg Prof. Sadiya Khan said in a Wednesday Northwestern Now release.

Some of these risk factors are also becoming more common, Khan said. This phenomenon, coupled with the fact that many women are getting pregnant later in life, could affect the frequency with which some of these factors compound and impact births. 

“Not all pregnancies are planned, but ideally we would evaluate women well in advance of becoming pregnant,” Khan said in the release. “We also need to shift our focus toward prioritizing and promoting women’s health as a society.”

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Twitter: @jacobnfulton

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