PREGNANCY COMPLICATIONS AND RISK OF HEART DISEASE
Women are at a greater risk of developing heart disease or a stroke if they experience the following pregnancy complications:
GESTATIONAL HYPERTENSION AND PRE-ECLAMPSIA
Gestational hypertension is a form of high blood pressure in pregnancy, without significant protein in the urine or other signs of organ damage. A woman is diagnosed with gestational hypertension when her blood pressure readings are higher than 140/90 mmHg after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Although gestational hypertension usually goes away after childbirth, affected women may face an increased risk of developing hypertension in the future.

Gestational hypertension can also develop into pre-eclampsia, which is diagnosed with increased protein in the urine and signs of damage to other organ systems, including the kidneys, liver, blood or brain. Untreated pre-eclampsia can lead to severe - even fatal - complications for both mother and child, including the development of seizures (eclampsia).

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GESTATIONAL DIABETES MELLITUS (GDM)
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is the development of diabetes during pregnancy. Diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to regulate blood glucose, resulting in high blood sugar levels. GDM usually develops during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Therefore, the test to diagnose GDM, known as the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT), is conducted between 24th and 28th week of gestation. Though GDM usually goes away after birth, women who have had the condition face a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It is hence important to go for regular diabetes screening.
PRE-TERM DELIVERY
A normal pregnancy lasts for approximately 40 weeks. Pre-term delivery is the birth of a baby occurring before 37 completed weeks (less than 259 days) of pregnancy. Sometimes, early delivery is needed to prevent potentially life-threatening complications when a woman has high blood pressure during pregnancy. Studies also show that women who gave birth prematurely, have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Health Problems During Pregnancy – Even If They Disappear After You Gave Birth – May Signal Trouble For Your Heart!
What you can do:
Work closely with your family doctor or gynecologist if you have any of the above pregnancy complications.
Understand your risks for heart disease now and as you age.
Adopt healthy lifestyle habits: get regular exercise, eat a heart-healthy diet (use little or no added salt in your food), maintain a healthy weight and do routine check-ups with your doctor or obstetrician.