Pregnancy Outcomes Can Predict Future Health Problems

Pregnancy Outcomes and Future Health Problems

Did you know that pregnancy outcome can predict your future health?  Several studies have shown that when a woman faces complications during her pregnancy, like preeclampsia, or gestational hypertension, it can be predictive of future health problems.

One Study in Obstetrics and Gynecology

On such large study was published in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2009 and surveyed over 15,000 women who delivered a singleton pregnancy between 1967 and 1995. Researchers looked not only at the pregnancy outcomes of these women, but also followed them for several years after their pregnancies. The results were remarkable. They found that women who had high blood pressure during their pregnancies were significantly more likely to have developed hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol or other metabolic disturbances.

Be Proactive

The implications are important.  A woman who has had complications should address this with her primary care provider. This will allow for a more proactive approach in monitoring for health problems.  Treatment may not be necessary initially, but she should be advised to see her doctor on a regular basis.  Checking blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and other metabolic parameters can help the physician more readily identify potential problems.

It was found that having levels of a protein called C-reactive protein is linked with higher levels of inflammation and subsequently, a higher risk of developing heart disease.  Further, researchers found the elevated levels of C-reactive protein in women with pregnancy induced high blood pressure.

Early Intervention Works

It’s been shown that early intervention and lifestyle changes are effective in decreasing issues.  In addition, a lot of these diseases can even be prevented if early, preventative action is initiated.  A woman may need to change her dietary habits, institute a regular exercise program, stop smoking or lose weight.  Pregnancy is an important time to emphasize healthy lifestyle changes and the postpartum period is a great time to reinforce those habits.

Weight gain during pregnancy seems to be an important issue in the observed findings.  Women who were unable to return to their pre-pregnancy weight were much more likely to deal with obesity and the associated health complications.  Women who were encouraged to breastfeed and did so successfully, are much more likely to lose the last few pregnancy pounds much quicker than women who did not.

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