Heart Attacks During Pregnancy And Birth Rose By 25%
Maternal Heart Attacks On The Rise
The study examined over forty-nine million births, with the majority of women having a heart problems post birth, and while the risk is comparatively low, the number of women who are having attacks has risen by twenty-five percent.
“Although heart attacks in young women are rare, the time during and immediately after pregnancy is a particularly vulnerable period during which heart disease may be unmasked,” says study author Dr. Nathaniel Smilowitz, an interventional cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health, in an email to TIME.
Dr. Smilowitz and his team collected data from more than 55 million births that took place at hospitals in the United States over the thirteen year study period. They found that 1,061 heart attacks happened during labor and delivery, while another 922 and 2,390 women were hospitalized for heart attacks before birth or during the recovery period after birth, respectively.
There are no clear causes at this time to why there an increase, yet speculation point to a few factors. That women are waiting until they are older to start families, thus increasing their risk for health complications, and overall health complications contributing to the heart attacks. Such as obesity and diabetes, which alone are contributing risks for heart attacks.
“All women should know their cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, and work with their doctors to control these factors before or early on during pregnancy,” says Smilowitz. “Women who are pregnant, or recently delivered, who develop chest pain or burning should recognize these warning signs and be evaluated by their doctor.”
Mortality rates for babies born in hospitals, which is 4.5%, has not changed throughout the study period.
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