Pregnant women need to care a little more about their heart, as a new study suggests that these women have a higher risk of heart attacks than other women. The risk also persists till 12 weeks after pregnancy.
In the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology meeting in Chicago, researchers from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles suggested that pregnant women were more prone to heart attacks than other women.
The doctors say that although the risk of a heart attack during pregnancy is very low – just 1 in every 16,000 deliveries – it was still 3 to 4 times higher than in non-pregnant women of the same age.
According to Dr Uri Elkayam the reason behind this is the hormonal changes, increased blood volume and the physiological changes that occur in a woman during pregnancy.
The research also found that the mortality rate of these women was also 7 percent due to heart attacks which was 2 to 3 times higher than non-pregnant women.
The researchers studied 150 cases of heart attacks in pregnant women in 2005 and found that during pregnancy heart attacks occur because of different reasons and seem to be more complicated. These women traditionally do not show any cardiovascular risk factors and yet have an attack.
In roughly 40 percent of the women studied the attack was due to dissections of the coronary arteries and few due to Atherosclerosis. The doctors said that as the heart attacks in most of the cases did not occur because of traditional reasons, the approach to treating the condition during pregnancy and later needed to be different too.
“We have very clear guidelines for heart attack in the general population. These guidelines, however, may not always apply to women with pregnancy-associated heart attacks and may actually cause more harm than good,” Dr Elkayam said.
The research does not directly indicate that all pregnant women are more prone to heart attacks but only says that they are at a higher risk as compared to other women. A heart healthy diet and regular habits become all the more essential for an expectant mom.