Cardiac disease and pregnancy outcomes
Women with heart problems have a higher risk of difficult pregnancies and adverse outcomes.
Women with heart disease are at greater risk of an adverse pregnancy outcome including spontaneous preterm labour. These women have pre-existing higher circulating levels of inflammatory cytokines and of markers of endothelial activation. We will recruit all women with pre-existing heart disease to our antenatal study outlined above to understand the mechanisms involved.
Women with pre-existing heart disease will be studied to understand how their heart disease impacts on pregnancy outcome. Their adaptation to pregnancy will be compared to that of women without heart disease in longitudinal studies starting pre-pregnancy and ending at 6 months' post pregnancy. We will define how heart disease impacts on pregnancy outcome specifically focussing on the risk of spontaneous preterm labour.
Rates of preterm birth are rising in the developed world in parallel with other changes in our life-style and environment.