Improving Cardiovascular Health Through Better Pregnancy Outcomes
Cardiovascular diseases like stroke or heart failure account for 60 per cent of deaths worldwide. Finding ways to diagnose cardiovascular problems earlier could significantly reduce the odds of developing issues later in life. In fact, researchers now think it may be possible to reduce a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease during infancy—or even before birth.
As many as 20 per cent of pregnancies are affected by complications—such as pre
-eclampsia or poor fetal growth—that can lead to long-term cardiovascular problems for both mothers and their babies.
As Canada Research Chair in Maternal and Perinatal Cardiovascular Health, Dr. Sandra Davidge and her research team are looking at how improving outcomes for complicated pregnancies might reduce, or even prevent, future chronic cardiovascular problems in both mothers and their children.
Davidge’s research team is looking at how complications during pregnancy can affect the cardiovascular system of both the mother and her child. For example, they examine how substances released by the placenta during complicated pregnancies can cause the mother’s blood vessels to no longer work properly, leading to increased blood pressure and altering the cardiovascular development of her offspring.
Davidge believes that increasing understanding about certain pregnancy complications, and finding ways to prevent them, could improve cardiovascular health for mothers and their children, reducing the burden of chronic diseases in the future.