To explore this, researchers looked at the cardiovascular health of 219,330 women who had delivered at least one baby from 2006 to 2010 using the UK Biobank, a database containing health information from an estimated 500,000 participants.
The results showed that 13,094 women (6.0 percent) developed cardiovascular problems, and women with a history of gestational diabetes were at greater risk of a variety of cardiovascular problems, and that risk increased with age.
After adjusting for confounding variables, women with a history of gestational diabetes were at an increased risk for a range of cardiovascular conditions, including coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease, heart failure, mitral regurgitation, and atrial fibrillation.
“We’ve known that gestational diabetes can lead to heart problems,” said one of the study’s authors, Seung Mi Lee, MD, a maternal-fetal subspecialist and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Seoul National University College of Medicine.
This research shows us the extent of heart health problems that can arise long after someone has given birth. The next step is to look at what kind of preventative measures can be taken during pregnancy to hopefully prevent cardiovascular disease from developing later in life.