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Management of cardiovascular risk factors during pregnancy


Cardiovascular (CV) risk factors are rising among women of reproductive age. Obesity, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, and hypertension are associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes and increased CV disease (CVD) risk following pregnancy. Pre-conception counselling and longitudinal postpartum follow-up with ongoing CV risk factor screening are critical for early CVD prevention, though significant racial/ethnic disparities in access to care result in significant gaps. This review summarises the recommended management of CV risk factors during and after pregnancy. For obesity, prevention of excessive weight gain is critical. Except in rare cases, lipid-lowering therapies for women with hyperlipidaemia should be stopped before pregnancy. Women with diabetes in pregnancy should maintain tight glucose control, with hemolgobin A1c (HbA1c) <6.5% to prevent congenital abnormalities. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are associated with high maternal and neonatal morbidity and require long-term follow-up to prevent future CVD. Finally, this review highlights the lack of clinical trials informing optimal treatment strategies of CV risk factors during and after pregnancy. Further research is needed to better understand how to improve long-term CV health among this high-risk population.

  • pregnancy
  • epidemiology
  • hyperlipidaemias
  • hypertension
  • metabolic syndrome

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