American Heart Month Focus: Maternal Health

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of maternal death in the U.S. , or more simply put, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of new moms. It can pose a threat to women’s heart health during pregnancy and later in life, making it important that women understand how to care for themselves and their baby.

There are many factors that impact a woman’s cardiovascular health during pregnancy, but the four key risk factors are race/ethnicity, age, hypertension and obesity. Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women continue to be at significantly higher risk.

High blood pressure that develops during pregnancy is associated with a 67% higher risk of later cardiovascular disease . Preeclampsia is associated with a 75% higher risk of later death from cardiovascular disease. The odds of cardiovascular disease in women who have gestational diabetes is 68% higher compared with those who do not.

Here to offer some great information for new and expecting mothers is Dr. Yasmin Hamirani with WVU Heart & Vascular Institute. Mothers – talk to your doctors, know your family history and KNOW YOUR NUMBERS!