Women with a history of pregnancy complications such as hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) and/or gestational diabetes (GDM) are at increased risk of experiencing hot flashes during the menopause transition, according to research presented at the 2018 North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in San Diego, California.1

Researchers gathered data from 2249 participants in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) to support the hypothesis that pregnancy disorders may lead to a greater number of hot flashes during pregnancy. Inclusion criteria comprised preeclampsia/toxemia, gestational hypertension or pregnancy-induced hypertension, and/or gestational diabetes. Women were classified as nulliparous (n=395, 17.6%), no HDP/GDM (n=1646, 73.2%), or history of HDP/GDM (n=208, 9.2%).

Women in the HDP/GDM group were found to be at increased risk of developing hot flashes compared with women without HDP/GDM (odds ratio [OR] 1.19); nulliparous women reported the lowest risk of hot flashes (OR, 0.81). The HDP/GDM group also reported longer duration (≥6 days) of hot flashes (OR, 1.19).

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In an accompanying press release, Rhoda Conant, MD, lead author of the study, concluded, “This study further underscores the importance of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia for later health, particularly cardiovascular health at midlife. Women with a history of these pregnancy disorders were heavier and more likely to be taking lipid-lowering medications and diabetes medications.”2

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  1. Conant RJ, Corés Y, Catov J, et al. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and gestational diabetes as risk factors for hot flashes in midlife women. Presented at the North American Menopause Society 2018 Annual Meeting; October 3-6, 2018; San Diego, CA.
  2. Pregnancy disorders may lead to more hot flashes [news release]. Cleveland, OH: The North American Menopause Society. October 3, 2018. https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/pregnancy-disorders-risk-factors-for-hot-flashes-9-27-18.pdf. Accessed October 2, 2018.