HealthDay News — Pregnancy-related complications, including hypertensive disorders and diabetes, may identify women at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) later in life, study data indicate.

Abigail Fraser, MPH, PhD, of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assessed a prospective cohort of 3,416 women for associations between pregnancy-related complications and 10-year CVD risk based on the Framingham score. Pregnancy-related complications assessed included gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP), preterm delivery and infant size for gestational age, as well as a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors measured 18 years after pregnancy (mean age at outcome assessment, 48 years).

Women who experienced preeclampsia or gestational diabetes had increased odds for experiencing a cardiovascular event in the next decade (OR=1.31 and 1.26, respectively), compared with women without the conditions, the researchers found.

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“Preeclampsia may be the better predictor of future CVD since it was associated with a wider range of cardiovascular risk factors,” they reported in Circulation.

Gestational diabetes was positively associated with fasting glucose and insulin, even after adjusting for potential confounders; whereas, HDP were associated with BMI, waist circumference, BP, lipids and insulin.

A large-for-gestational-age infant was associated with greater waist circumference and glucose concentrations, while a small-for-gestational-age infant and preterm delivery were associated with higher BP.

Fraser A et al. Circulation. 2012; doi:10.1161/ circulationaha.111.044784.