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Study: Heart problems spike for older pregnant women in late term

Bringing a child into the world is something women get to experience only a few times in life. Each pregnancy offers a unique experience for women, and each pregnancy should be treated as such by Chicago physicians.

To make sure expecting mothers and their unborn babies receive proper medical care and attention throughout pregnancy and during birth, Chicago doctors must carefully monitor a woman’s and baby’s progress throughout pregnancy. In order to determine whether a woman is at risk of experiencing complications during pregnancy, doctors often review patients’ medical histories and current factors such as age, weight and blood pressure. Failure to track the health of a pregnant woman or an unborn child is negligence that can cause pregnancy-related injuries or birth injuries.

Physicians must monitor some pregnancies more closely than others, especially when the mother-to-be is older. New research published in Basic Research in Cardiology indicates heart disease risks increase amongst pregnant patients who are older.

UCLA researchers suggest that older women are more likely to have higher cholesterol readings and less physical activity than younger women. The chances of developing heart and diabetes issues also increase with a woman’s age. These health risks could worsen during pregnancy, researchers believe.

The study was based on the heart healthiness of pregnant and non-pregnant rats that had experienced heart attacks. Researchers noted that pregnant rats recovered only 10 percent cardiac function after a heart attack compared to 80 percent for non-pregnant rats. Heart tissue damage quadrupled amongst pregnant rats.

Heart functions for the pregnant test subjects improved dramatically after the rats gave birth. The rats’ cardiac functioning increased within a day, sometimes to the point of full recovery only a week after birth. Researchers hope that this study will help them to learn more about heart disease in pregnant women who are older.

Although the research is still in its early phases, the study is an example of why it is so important that doctors properly monitor pregnant women and their unborn babies. Ignoring a woman’s symptoms that might suggest she is suffering from serious health complications could result in catastrophic injuries.

Source: Medical News Today, “Pregnancy Later In Life Increases Risk Of Heart Attacks,” Grace Rattue, July 5, 2012


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