Many mothers believe that once their child is born, they are out of the woods. In fact, doctors say it could be an indicator of issues later in life.
There’s a growing field of research aimed at mothers who have had preeclampsia or other cardiovascular issues during pregnancy, and the link with future concerns.
It’s called maternal heart health.
Dr. Lee Padove is the director of Maternal Cardiology at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. He has been researching and educating the public for years.
“Women that have had preeclampsia,” says Dr. Padove, “Are at increased risk of having early heart disease, compared to other women. Generally, women get heart disease… Usually, women get it just as often as men, but a lot later in life. So these are women that might have a 20-year-old, 15-year-old, waiting to have them grow that can all of the sudden have coronary artery disease.
Clinics like Dr. Padove’s are the bridge for those new mothers who had issues during their pregnancy, and their heart health going forward.
Nurse Practitioner Jaimie Chausmer at Northside Hospital says, “Most of my patients feel delivery is the key, ‘once I deliver, oh I’m done, I don’t have any other problems.'”
That’s where education is vital.
Chausmer explains, “When I talk to these women at the clinic and I explain this is a link between future heart disease and what we need to look for, they’re all astonished and say ‘gosh I never even knew.'”
Women who fall into this category should make sure they take the proper steps to maintain a healthy heart.
Moving daily, eating a healthy diet and monitoring things like blood pressure and cholesterol can help lower their risk, later in life.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in pregnancy and the post-partum period.