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Women’s awareness of cardiovascular disease risk after complications of pregnancy

  • Emily Aldridge
    Correspondence
    Correspondence to: Robinson Research Institute, Level 2, Lyell McEwin Hospital, Haydown Road, Elizabeth Vale, South Australia 5112, Australia.
    Affiliations
    Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

    Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Austarlia

    Department of Cardiology, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, Elizabeth Vale, Australia
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  • Maleesa Pathirana
    Affiliations
    Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

    Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Austarlia
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  • Melanie Wittwer
    Affiliations
    Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

    Department of Cardiology, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, Elizabeth Vale, Australia
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  • Susan Sierp
    Affiliations
    Department of Cardiology, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, Elizabeth Vale, Australia
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  • Claire T. Roberts
    Affiliations
    Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

    Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Austarlia

    Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute, Flinders University, Bedford Park, Australia
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  • Gustaaf A. Dekker
    Affiliations
    Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

    Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Austarlia

    Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, Elizabeth Vale, Australia
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  • Margaret Arstall
    Affiliations
    Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

    Department of Cardiology, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, Elizabeth Vale, Australia
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Published:October 10, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2022.09.010

      Abstract

      Background

      Certain maternal complications of pregnancy, including hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, gestational diabetes mellitus, birth of a growth restricted infant, idiopathic preterm labour, and placental abruption, are associated with a significantly increased risk of future maternal cardiovascular disease. In Australia, it is relatively unknown how many women with a history of complicated pregnancies are aware of their future cardiovascular disease risk.

      Aim

      The aim of this study was to determine what percentage of women attending a cardiovascular disease prevention clinic in South Australia soon after a complicated pregnancy were aware of their increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

      Methods

      This prospective observational study included 188 women attending a postpartum prevention clinic between 7th August 2018 and 10th February 2021. These women had experienced a serious maternal complication of pregnancy approximately seven months earlier. Women completed a self-administered health awareness survey immediately prior to their first clinic appointment to assess their awareness of their increased cardiovascular risk.

      Findings

      Over two-thirds (69.1 %) of the women were unaware of the association between pregnancy complications and cardiovascular disease, and 6.4 % of the cohort did not realise they had experienced a complicated pregnancy. Almost 10 % of the cohort did not correctly identify the complication/s they had been diagnosed with during pregnancy.

      Conclusion

      Awareness of the association between complications of pregnancy and future cardiovascular disease was low in our cohort of women who had experienced a complication of pregnancy only seven months earlier. This emphasises the need for improved education for and communication with women to assist in implementing preventative care strategies.

      Keywords

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