Pregnancy can be nature's stress test on the heart

Are you at risk for heart disease?

Pregnancy can be nature's stress test on the heart. Are you at risk for heart disease?

Have you experienced any of the follow pregnancy complication, you could be at a greater risk for heart disease and stroke:


What can you do to lower your risk?

  • See your primary care provider for routine appointments after the baby is born to check your overall health. Discuss your pregnancy and tell them about any complications you may have experienced.

  • Stay active with moderate to vigorous intensity exercise at least 150 minutes per week. Choose a variety of activities, including aerobic and strengthening exercises.

  • Aim to be at a health body weight to reduce your future risk of heart disease and stroke. Get back to your pre-pregnancy weight after delivery.

  • Live smoke free. If you smoke, ask your primary care provider for help with quitting smoking. Quitting will greatly reduce the risk of future health problems like a heart attack or stroke.

  • Eat a healthy diet. Increase the amount of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fish you eat. Lower your salt, fat, cholesterol, and sugar intake.

  • Breastfeed as long as possible. Breastfeeding is good for both baby and mother. Breastfeeding reduces your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It may also help you lose weight after delivery.

  • Speak with your primary care provider, when planning your next pregnancy. They may have additional suggestions to optimize your health.

In This Section

Health and Nutrition

The first year after delivery is a great opportunity to adopt a healthier lifestyle, including healthy eating habits and regular physical activity.

In the Media

Dr. Smith’s research has caught the attention of a number of media outlets as it highlights the importance of considering female-specific heart disease risk factors and demonstrates the need for education, of both women and doctors, on the unique risk factors and symptoms of heart disease in women.