As per the latest information by the American Heart Association, less than half of pregnant women in the United States have good heart health, and that number is declining.
Experts were previously aware that poor heart health might have serious implications for expectant moms. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is currently the greatest cause of mortality during pregnancy and the postpartum period in the United States. It accounts for 26.5 percent of all pregnancy-related fatalities, with greater rates of mortality among women of color as well as those with poorer incomes.
Most Pregnant Women Suffer From Cardiac Problems In The United States
The current study attempts to evaluate whether or if women’s heart health was deteriorating before becoming pregnant, and if so, wherein the country.
Researchers analyzed data among all women in the United States between the ages of 20 and 44 who gave birth between 2016 and 2018. The researchers next focused on how many of them had good cardiometabolic health before pregnancy, which was characterized as having normal weight and blood pressure and not having diabetes.
They discovered that the proportion of women entering pregnancy with good heart health fell from 43.5 percent to 41.3 percent over the research period.
Natalie A. Cameron, a researcher, said she was taken aback by the results. Overweight and obesity were the primary drivers of the rates and trends. However, up to 4% to 5% of women in certain areas had two or more risk factors, indicating that diabetes and hypertension have a significant role in poor health before pregnancy.
The findings, which were presented last week at the American Heart Association’s online Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle, and Cardiometabolic Health Conference, are considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed publication.
As per the research, every state saw a decrease in favorable pre-pregnancy heart health, but there was a significant disparity throughout the country. In 2018, around 33% of Mississippi women had good pre-pregnancy heart health, compared to 48% of Utah women.
Improving women’s cardiovascular health before pregnancy benefits both the newborns and the mothers. Cameron explained that being overweight or obese, having diabetes, or having high blood pressure might result in low birth weight kids and increased health risks through adolescence.
While the study did not investigate the reasons for poor heart health before pregnancy, she believes the findings demonstrate the need for a significant shift in healthcare services.
Cameron, a resident physician of internal medicine at Northwestern University’s McGaw Medical Center in Chicago, believes there is a need to explore the challenges to enhance cardio metabolic health in the United States. Some of the obstacles may include a lack of access to health insurance, health care professionals, nutritious meals, and safe locations to walk and exercise.
Dr. Davis, who is a cardiologist and was not a part of the study, termed it an important study that demonstrates to the public and the medical community that needs to focus more on helping women attain better overall health.
According to her, she believes that improvements in health policy are required to reduce rates of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes among young women. It is also critical for women to be health-conscious.
While everyone needs to exercise, eat a healthy diet, and manage any risk factors for heart disease, Davis, who is an assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine and a member of a maternal heart team at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, believes it is especially crucial for women who are intending to get pregnant.
She would advise ladies to consult their gynecologist before becoming pregnant in order to learn about any health conditions they may have and how they might reduce their risk.