HealthDay News — Several first-time pregnancy complications are associated with development of hypertension 2 to 7 years later, according to a study published in the Oct. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association.

David M. Haas, MD, from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and colleagues used follow-up data from 4484 women after their first pregnancy (mean follow-up, 3.2 years) to evaluate the association between outcomes in first pregnancies and subsequent cardiovascular health.

The researchers found that adverse pregnancy outcomes (defined as hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, small-for-gestational-age birth, preterm birth, and stillbirth) were identified prospectively in 22.7% of participants. The overall incidence of hypertension was 5.4%, but women with adverse pregnancy outcomes had a higher adjusted risk for hypertension at follow-up vs controls (risk ratio [RR], 2.4). Similar findings were seen for individual adverse pregnancy outcomes: any hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (RR, 2.7), preeclampsia (RR, 2.8), and preterm birth (RR, 2.7). The highest risk for hypertension was seen among women who had a preterm birth and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (RR, 4.3).

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“Preventive care for women should include a detailed pregnancy history to aid in counseling about hypertension risk,” the authors write.

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