Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular Risk Factors, and Future Heart Disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in adult women. Beyond the traditional risk factors of obesity, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia, women with the pregnancy complications of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, prematurity, and low birth weight for gestational age (fetal growth restriction) are at higher risk for later development of cardiovascular disease. Education of women and providers about the association of pregnancy complications and cardiovascular disease should begin in the postpartum period. Postpartum cardiovascular risk screening and lifestyle modifications should be considered standard of care and are essential to improving cardiac health as a preventive strategy.
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