611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

LaFrontera
member support line
1-520-279-5737
M-F 5pm-8pm
24/7 weekends/holidays

AzCH Nurse Assist Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530



SEABHS
611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

AzCH Nurse Assist Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530


powered by centersite dot net
Women's Health
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Mom's Weight-Loss Surgery Lowers Many Pregnancy Complications, Raises OthersPregnant Women Need to Take Care in Sweltering Summer HeatAre Antibiotics Really the Answer for UTIs in Women?Stronger Hearts, Better Outcomes in Pregnancy: StudyCould Menopausal Hormone Therapy Reduce Women's Odds for Dementia?Screening Often Misses Endometrial Cancer in Black WomenAHA News: Pregnant Mom's Diet May Influence Baby's Cardiovascular HealthPandemic Delays in Screening Mean More Breast Cancer Deaths Ahead: StudyUrinary Incontinence Can Affect a Woman's Mental HealthCOVID Vaccine Doesn't Infiltrate Breast MilkGap in Breast Cancer Survival for Black, White Patients Shrinks, But Not by EnoughCost a Barrier to Cervical Cancer Screening for Many U.S. WomenAlcohol Still a Threat in Too Many American Pregnancies: StudyWomen's Cancer Screenings Plummeted During PandemicPandemic Day Care Closures Forced 600,000 U.S. Working Moms to Leave JobsNo Sign Prior COVID Infection Affects a Woman's Fertility: StudyFertility Drugs Won't Raise Breast Cancer RiskMigraines Tied to Higher Odds for Complications in PregnancyWomen, Take These Key Steps to Good Urological HealthAre Women Absorbing Toxins From Their Makeup?Race Doesn't Affect Risk for Genes That Raise Breast Cancer RiskHealthy Levels of Vitamin D May Boost Breast Cancer OutcomesHeavy Drinking Could Lower a Woman's Odds of ConceptionAHA News: Asian and Pacific Islander Women May Be at Greatest Risk for Preeclampsia ComplicationsFibroid Pain, Bleeding Is Driving Thousands of Women to the ERA Woman's Diet Might Help Her Avoid Breast CancerBreast Cancer's Spread Is More Likely in Black Women, Study FindsDrug Lynparza Could Help Fight Some Early-Stage Breast CancersAHA News: Menopause Before 40 Tied to Higher Stroke RiskHealthy Eating Lowers Pregnancy Complication RiskAortic Tears Are Even More Deadly for Women, Study FindsFDA Warns of Bogus Fertility Claims for Some SupplementsAHA News: Surprisingly Few Women May Have Good Heart Health Before PregnancyOsteoporosis Might Also Raise a Woman's Odds for Hearing LossModerate Use of Hair Relaxers Won't Raise Black Women's Cancer Risk: StudyMammography Rates Plummeted During Pandemic'Yo-Yo' Dieting May Mean Sleepless Nights for WomenGluten Doesn't Trigger 'Brain Fog' for Women Without Celiac Disease: StudyHPV Vaccination Is Lowering U.S. Cervical Cancer RatesSmoggy Air Might Raise Black Women's Odds for FibroidsAHA News: Preterm Deliveries May Pose Long-Term Stroke Risk for MothersWomen Get Help Later Than Men When Heart Attack StrikesLots of Sugary Drinks Doubles Younger Women's Colon Cancer Risk: StudyHeart Risk Factors Show Up Earlier in U.S. Black WomenBetter Access to Birth Control Boosts School Graduation RatesA Vitamin Could Be Key to Women's Pain After Knee ReplacementFreezing Tumors Could Be New Treatment for Low-Risk Breast CancersGiving Birth During the Pandemic? Facts You Need to KnowDo Your Genes Set You Up for Hot Flashes?Common Complication of Pregnancy Tied to Higher Stroke Risk Later
Questions and AnswersLinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Medical Disorders
Wellness and Personal Development
Mental Disorders

AHA News: Surprisingly Few Women May Have Good Heart Health Before Pregnancy

HealthDay News
by American Heart Association News
Updated: May 26th 2021

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, May 26, 2021 (American Heart Association News) -- Less than half of U.S. women entering pregnancy have good heart health, and those rates are falling, according to new research.

Experts already knew poor heart health can have dire consequences for mothers-to-be. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of a mother's death during pregnancy and postpartum, making up 26.5% of pregnancy-related deaths, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The new study sought to find out if heart health was declining before women became pregnant, and if so, in which parts of the country.

Researchers looked at data from all U.S. women, ages 20-44, who gave birth from 2016 to 2018. Then they zoomed in on how many of them had "favorable cardiometabolic health" before pregnancy, which was defined as having a normal weight and blood pressure and not having diabetes.

They found the percentage of women entering pregnancy with good heart health decreased during the study period, from 43.5% to 41.3%.

"I was quite surprised by those numbers," said researcher Natalie A. Cameron. "Our rates and trends were mostly driven by overweight and obesity. However, up to 4% to 5% of women in some states had two or more risk factors, demonstrating an important contribution of diabetes and hypertension to unfavorable health prior to pregnancy."

Presented last week at the American Heart Association's virtual Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Conference, the findings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The study found every state experienced a drop in the rate of favorable pre-pregnancy heart health, but there was a major gap in different parts of the country. In 2018, about 33% of women in Mississippi had good pre-pregnancy hearth health compared to 48% in Utah.

Improving women's cardiovascular health before pregnancy is important for babies as well as moms. Being overweight or having obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure can lead to low birth weight for babies and higher health risks during adolescence, Cameron said.

While the study didn't explore the causes of poor heart health before pregnancy, the results show the need for a major shift in health care, she said.

"We need to investigate the barriers to promoting cardiometabolic health in the U.S.," said Cameron, a resident physician of internal medicine at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University in Chicago. "Some of these barriers may include lack of access to health insurance, health care providers, healthy foods and safe places to walk and stay active."

Dr. Melinda Davis, a cardiologist who was not involved in the research, called it "an important study that shows the public and the medical community that we need to focus more on helping women achieve better overall health."

She said changes are needed in health policy aimed at reducing rates of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes in young women. It's also essential for women be proactive about their health, she said.

"While it is important for all of us to make sure we are exercising, following a healthy diet, and managing any risk factors for heart disease, it is especially important for women who are planning to become pregnant," said Davis, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine and part of a maternal heart team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

"I would encourage women to talk with their doctor before becoming pregnant to find out about any risk factors they may have and see how they can decrease their risk."

American Heart Association News covers heart and brain health. Not all views expressed in this story reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you have questions or comments about this story, please email editor@heart.org.

By Thor Christensen