According to new research that was recently presented, pregnancy may negatively impact a mother’s cardiovascular health. In a recent study, evidence of plague in the heart or thickening of arteries, which are signs of cardiovascular disease, were much more evidence in women who had given birth to four or more children than those with fewer pregnancies.
The ways in which pregnancy affect cardiovascular risk has become a point of interest for researchers in recent years. One team of researchers, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, are exploring whether the number of live births is associated with early signs of cardiovascular disease.
Monika Sanghavi, M.D., the lead investigator of the study has made sure to clarify that there is still much research to be performed and this initial findings are not enough for women to feel that they should only have two or three children.
She points out:
“Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that the changes associated with pregnancy may provide insight into a woman’s future cardiovascular risk and deserves further attention.”
What is clear, however, is that pregnancy causes a range of changes that put a strain on a woman’s cardiovascular system. For example, during pregnancy, the volume of blood that is pumped through one’s heart experiences a 50 percent increase.
Sanghavi further adds:
“Pregnancy has been called ‘nature’s stress test,’ and for good reason,” Sanghavi said. “It may also help identify women who are at increased risk [for heart disease], even though right now they may not have any risk factors.”