Women with high-risk pregnancies are up to eight times more likely to develop heart disease.

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Women who suffer gestational diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy are up to eight times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke in later life, new research shows.

Other pregnancy complications that can also have an impact later in women’s lives include premature birth and low-birth-weight, miscarriage or inability to conceive.

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Research published in the journal of Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy suggests such complications should be considered “markers of future risk” and used to inform women and doctors in protecting women’s future health.

“Obstetrics history should be included in every assessment of a female patient,” the study reads. “This is particularly important in young women who may be at higher, yet-unrecognised risk.”

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In Australia, between 5 and 10 per cent of pregnant women develop diabetes during pregnancy, which according to Diabetes Australia, usually arises between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy

The rates of preeclampsia in Australian women are similar (5 to 10 per cent) and can be related to increased blood pressure prior to birth. It is typically diagnosed around the 20th week of pregnancy.

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While such conditions disappear after delivery, the message regarding them clear: If you have a high-risk pregnancy, don’t forget about it once your baby is born. Such complications might be warning you of a future heart attack or stroke.

Use the information to be proactive and protect your future self.

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