Pregnancy complications such as miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, diabetes in pregnancy (gestational diabetes) and pre-term birth are linked to a heightened risk of heart disease in later life, suggests an overarching (umbrella) analysis of data published by The BMJ today.
Several other factors related to fertility and pregnancy also seem to be associated with subsequent cardiovascular disease, say the researchers, including starting periods early, use of combined oral contraceptives, polycystic ovary syndrome, and early menopause.
However, a longer length of breastfeeding was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Previous research has suggested that risk factors specific to women may be linked to cardiovascular disease and stroke, but clarity on the quality of the evidence is lacking and on how the findings can be translated into public health and clinical practice.
So a team of UK researchers searched relevant research databases for published systematic reviews and meta-analyses that investigated links between