According to research made by the University of Queensland, women who have had a history of miscarriages or stillbirths are at a greater risk of having a stroke later in life.
The study was done by comparing data from more than 610,000 women in Australia and six other countries and discovered that frequent pregnancy losses raised the risk of stroke.
In a press statement, lead author Professor Gita Mishra of the University of Queensland School of Public Health, stated that many women are unaware that pregnancy loss is an early warning sign of illness risk later in life.
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While one in every five pregnancies (19%) ends in miscarriage, less than 5% of women will have several miscarriages, with roughly 1% having three or more.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), found that the number of pregnancy losses increased the risk of stroke, with one miscarriage increasing the risk of stroke by 7% compared to women who had not had a miscarriage and two miscarriages increasing the risk of a non-fatal stroke by 12% and a fatal stroke by 26%.
The risk of stroke rose by 35% for a non-fatal stroke and 82% for a fatal stroke following three or more miscarriages compared to women with no history of pregnancy loss.
When compared to women with no history of stillbirth, the risk rose with each loss. Having two stillbirths elevated the risk of non-fatal stroke by 29% and the chance of fatal stroke by 26%.
“This is the first large-scale study to show a strong association between stroke and repeated miscarriage, as well as very unusual outcomes like recurrent stillbirths,” she added.
“The link between pregnancy loss and stroke is also could be due to a common risk factor, such as a genetic factor, that might predispose women to both pregnancy loss and stroke events,” Mishra said.
Mishra stated that women who are still mourning and processing a pregnancy loss should not be concerned by these findings, but those entering perimenopause or who are post-menopausal and have a history of numerous pregnancy losses should speak with their doctor about managing their health risks.
The Stroke Foundation suggests women at risk stop smoking, keep a healthy weight, exercise for 30 minutes each day, and control blood pressure to reduce stroke risk.