Women who give birth before the term and suffer from pre-eclampsia are twice as likely to suffer from hypertension later in life. In some cases, the phenomenon occurs even less than three years after gestation. This was stated by a study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), conducted on more than 4,000 women.
The discovery could help prevent the risks of cardiovascular problems later in life. Previous studies have already shown that some complications are associated with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. However, the studies in question focused on data collected in retrospect, often with stories reported by the patients themselves.
The study in question, instead, is based on the clinical history of women 2-7 years before gestation. In this way, the doctors verified whether there was a connection between cardiovascular health and the outcome of gestation. The researchers involved 4,484 women. About 31% of those who had complications during pregnancy had chronic hypertension problems in later years. The percentage drops to 17% in the case of women who had no complications.
There is therefore a connection between complications, especially if during the first pregnancy, and hypertension going on with age. According to the author of the study, this should prompt doctors to investigate patients' medical backgrounds. This would allow many women to improve their lifestyle, with positive effects on their health and that of the child.