HealthDay News — Both pregnancy losses and a history of at least 5 live births are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online Nov. 27 in the Journal of Women’s Health.

Clare Oliver-Williams, PhD, from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the correlations between parity and cardiovascular outcomes using data from 8583 women aged 45 to 64 years in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Annual interviews and hospital surveillance were used to ascertain coronary heart disease (CHD), myocardial infarction (MI), heart failure, and strokes.

The researchers noted 1352 CHDs, 843 MIs, 750 strokes, and 1618 heart failure events during 30 years of follow-up. After adjustment for baseline characteristics, women with previous pregnancies and no live births had greater incident CHD and heart failure risk than those with 1 to 2 previous births (hazard ratios, 1.64 and 1.46, respectively). After adjustment for baseline characteristics and breastfeeding, women with 5 or more live births had a greater risk for CHD and hospitalized MI (hazard ratios, 1.29 and 1.38, respectively).

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“Conditions such as heart disease and stroke together are the leading cause of death in women in the developed world, and it is essential that we understand why this is the case,” Oliver-Williams said in a statement. “Our work suggests that there is a relation between cardiovascular disease risk and both pregnancy loss and having a large number of births.”

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