Higher heart disease risk for women with high blood pressure who’ve had complicated pregnancies

Having complicated pregnancies is associated with higher a risk of heart disease if women also have high blood pressure, new research has found.



Women with high blood pressure who’ve had a pregnancy complication, such as an early birth or low birth weight, may be at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to new research.

Researchers analysed the health records of more than 1.2 million women who had given birth. They found that high blood pressure was linked with an increased risk of 12 cardiovascular diseases (including stroke and heart attack), and the risk was even higher for women who also had complications during their pregnancy.

Compared to women with normal blood pressure and no complications during pregnancy, those with high blood pressure had twice the risk of cardiovascular disease, and women with both high blood pressure and complications during pregnancy had three times the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers say that medical practitioners could use these findings to advise women on their cardiovascular risk before, during, and after pregnancy, and advise women at higher risk to make lifestyle changes to improve their health. The researchers say that women who have high blood pressure and/or complications during pregnancy could benefit from early screening for cardiovascular disease.

“We know that relevant advice delivered by primary healthcare professionals can go a long way to encourage healthy diets and lifestyles among patients,” says Professor Graham MacGregor, Chair of Blood Pressure UK.

“Offering advice to women at higher risk of developing heart disease, according to this report’s findings, could help women who’ve experienced pregnancy complications, and those with high blood pressure, to live longer, healthier lives.”