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Home Home Wellness News Baby's Heart Defects Tied to Mom's Heart Trouble
Baby's Heart Defects Tied to Mom's Heart Trouble
Wellness - Latest Wellness News
Jupiter, FL Dentist

MONDAY, April 2, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have a baby with a congenital heart defect may face a heightened risk of heart disease years later, a large study suggests.

Researchers found that among more than 1 million women, those who'd given birth to a baby with a heart defect were up to 43 percent more likely to be hospitalized for heart problems over the next 25 years.

The study is the first to link newborn heart defects to heart disease in moms. And experts said the reasons for the findings are unclear.

"I think women should be aware of the findings, but not worried by them," said Dr. Mary Ann Bauman, a spokesperson for the American Heart Association who was not involved in the research.

The study had some limitations, Bauman said. For example, the researchers could not examine whether smoking at least partly explained the connection: The habit can raise the risks of both congenital heart defects and heart disease in adults.

It is plausible, however, that a child's heart issues contribute to a mother's risk of heart disease down the road.

"The mother's whole focus is on her child," Bauman said. Because of that, she added, their own health concerns could fall by the wayside.

Plus, Bauman noted, there's a potential role for chronic stress -- both emotional and financial -- especially if a child has a more-severe heart defect that requires repeat procedures and hospitalizations.

The bottom line, according to Bauman, is that mothers should be reassured that they have "permission" to take care of themselves.

"Taking care of your own health does not mean you're neglecting your child," she said.

Worldwide, congenital heart defects affect nearly eight in every 1,000 newborns. That makes them the most common form of birth defect, according to the researchers on the study -- led by Dr. Nathalie Auger, of the University of Montreal.

But until now, it hasn't been clear whether the mothers of those babies have any particular risk of developing heart disease themselves, the researchers noted.

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