Optimizing Prepregnancy Cardiovascular Health to Improve Outcomes in Pregnant and Postpartum Individuals and Offspring: A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association

Sadiya S. Khan, Laprincess C. Brewer, Mary M. Canobbio, Marilyn J. Cipolla, William A Grobman, Jennifer Lewey, Erin D. Michos, Eliza C. Miller, Amanda M. Perak, Gina S. Wei, Holly Gooding

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

This scientific statement summarizes the available preclinical, epidemiological, and clinical trial evidence that supports the contributions of prepregnancy (and interpregnancy) cardiovascular health to risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and cardiovascular disease in birthing individuals and offspring. Unfavorable cardiovascular health, as originally defined by the American Heart Association in 2010 and revised in 2022, is prevalent in reproductive-aged individuals. Significant disparities exist in ideal cardiovascular health by race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geography. Because the biological processes leading to adverse pregnancy outcomes begin before conception, interventions focused only during pregnancy may have limited impact on both the pregnant individual and offspring. Therefore, focused attention on the prepregnancy period as a critical life period for optimization of cardiovascular health is needed. This scientific statement applies a life course and intergenerational framework to measure, modify, and monitor prepregnancy cardiovascular health. All clinicians who interact with pregnancy-capable individuals can emphasize optimization of cardiovascular health beginning early in childhood. Clinical trials are needed to investigate prepregnancy interventions to comprehensively target cardiovascular health. Beyond individual-level interventions, community-level interventions must include and engage key stakeholders (eg, community leaders, birthing individuals, families) and target a broad range of antecedent psychosocial and social determinants. In addition, policy-level changes are needed to dismantle structural racism and to improve equitable and high-quality health care delivery because many reproductive-aged individuals have inadequate, fragmented health care before and after pregnancy and between pregnancies (interpregnancy). Leveraging these opportunities to target cardiovascular health has the potential to improve health across the life course and for subsequent generations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E76-E91
JournalCirculation
Volume147
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 14 2023

Keywords

  • AHA Scientific Statements
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • pregnancy
  • pregnancy complications
  • primary prevention
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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