Having miscarriages is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, a study suggests.
Last year, a review of data from more than four million women across 22 studies from around the world concluded that having two or more miscarriages was associated with 'a significant increase' in the risk of coronary heart disease in future.
As well as this, having a baby who was stillborn was also associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, according to the research published in the European Heart Journal.
The findings of this study are so significant that researchers are calling for recurrent miscarriage to be ‘explicitly included in guidelines’ for assessing heart health risks.
Having miscarriages linked to increased risk of heart disease
According to the British Medical Journal, the Cambridge University researchers found that women who had experienced one miscarriage prior to the birth of their first child had about a 50% increased risk of developing heart disease.
Those with three or more pregnancy losses were almost two-and-a-half times the risk of women who had never miscarried.
Separately, a review of evidence published in The Lancet in 2021 concluded that recurrent miscarriage was a ‘predictor of longer-term health problems’, including cardiovascular disease and blood clots.
Other studies have had similar results.
In the US, a study based on data from more than 100,000 women also found that those who’d had three or more miscarriages, or a miscarriage before the age of 24, were more likely to die before the age of 70 - and this was ‘mainly a result of a higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease’, the authors wrote in The BMJ.
Based on this 2021 study, health experts recommended that, due to the apparent link between heart disease and miscarriage, the latter should be considered important medical information for doctors to ask about when doing heart health checks.
"Pregnancy history should be an integral part of cardiovascular risk assessment," they wrote in the European Heart Journal.
Information helps save lives
This information could help save lives if women and their doctors act on it, experts behind the research argue.
Asking women about their history of pregnancy loss - along with other female-specific risk factors - could help to reduce cardiovascular disease in women under 55.