Women who delivered before 32 weeks gestation had double the risk of CVD compared to women with term deliveries.
The researchers say premature delivery may be an early warning sign of future heart problems, rather than the cause of them. More research is needed to determine the pathways through which premature delivery and CVD are linked.
“This study linking preterm birth and later CVD adds further urgency to groundbreaking research supported by the March of Dimes to prevent and treat prematurity,” says Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA, senior vice president for Maternal Child Health Impact and deputy medical officer. “It suggests that one day we may be able to screen young women at risk for both conditions to improve the health of mothers and babies throughout their lifetimes.”
The American Heart Association already considers pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes to be risk factors for future CVD. “Our results suggest preterm delivery should be added to this list,” the study authors said.
“Preterm Delivery and Maternal Cardiovascular Disease in Young and Middle-Aged Adult Women” by L. Tanz and colleagues appears in a special women’s issue of the journal Circulation from the American Heart Association.
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