According to research published in Stroke, people who had a pregnancy complication and later had a stroke were more likely to have the stroke at an earlier age. Those who had more than one pregnancy affected by a complication, such as developing high blood pressure or having a preterm birth, and later had a stroke were more likely to have the stroke even earlier.
The data came from more than 140,000 women living in Finland who gave birth at least once. Almost 18% of study participants experienced a pregnancy complication. About 3% of study participants experienced a stroke. After controlling for medical risks and factors that can influence where people work, live, and play, researchers linked pregnancy complications with increased odds for having a stroke.
Among study participants who had a stroke, the stroke occurred at around age 58 for people who did not experience pregnancy complications, around age 55 for people who had one pregnancy affected by a complication, and around age 52 for people who had one or more pregnancies affected by complications. Among people who had a stroke and experienced multiple pregnancies with complications, about one in four had a stroke by age 42.
The authors emphasized the importance of ongoing cardiovascular disease risk-monitoring and prevention for people who have had a pregnancy complication. The study was supported by NHLBI, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.