A Healthy Mom Has the Best Shot at a Healthy Pregnancy
Take a look at this roadmap for a heart-healthy pregnancy and beyond. And be sure to visit wearethefaces.abcardio.org for more information on Black maternal heart health!
A team led by clinicians from cardiology, maternal-fetal medicine, obstetrics, obstetric anesthesia, pharmacy and nursing support a holistic approach to maternal healthcare.
Before Pregnancy
  • Establishing care with a primary care clinician to review your risk factors and optimize your health is key.
  • Early access to prenatal care is critical.
  • Learn your family's heart and pregnancy history.
  • Women with a heart condition, whether congenital or acquired, MUST speak with a cardiologist before pregnancy.
Your family's history is important!
In fact, it's just as important as knowing your own, personal medical history, as it can impact your heart health AND your pregnancy.

  • Pregnancy is nature's stress test on the heart.
  • It can expose undiagnosed or unknown heart issues.
  • It may also lead to major health risks such as: high blood pressure during pregnancy, preeclampsia, elevated blood sugar during pregnancy, preterm labor and a child smaller than expected.
  • Preeclampsia affects 1 in 25 pregnancies in the U.S. Know the symptoms and discuss ways to reduce your risk with your clinician.
These may include:
  • Low-dose aspirin anytime from 12 to 28 weeks gestation (preferably before 16 weeks gestation).
  • 140 minutes per week of moderate cardio, such as briskly walking.
  • Eating a heart-healthy diet.
  • Using an at-home blood pressure machine.
  • A referral to a cardiologist if needed.
Research has shown that the Mediterranean Diet decreases the risk of preeclampsia in Black women.
Certain women are more likely to have these major health risks
This includes:
  • First-time moms.
  • Women with a previous experience of high blood pressure during pregnancy.
  • Women whose mothers and sisters had preeclampsia.
  • Women carrying multiple babies.
  • Women younger than 20 and older than 40.
  • Women who have obesity.
  • All Black women, as a result of psychosocial stress.
Nearly 1/2 of all pregnancies are unplanned
Start taking steps to optimize your health today—don't wait until you decide to get pregnant. The earlier you begin, the better.

Preeclampsia can occur up to 6 weeks postpartum; postpartum preeclampsia occurs most commonly within the first seven days of delivery.
  • Seeing your clinician within 3 weeks of delivery is SO important.
  • Women with preeclampsia, high blood pressure or heart disease during pregnancy must schedule their appointments sooner. (On average, that happens within a week.)
  • Determine with your clinician when you should see your primary care clinician and/or if you should see a cardiologist.
  • Ask your clinician if you would benefit from monitoring your blood pressure at home.
  • The first year after delivery is an important time to re-establish your health and continue to identify your risk factors.
Did you know?
40% of women do not make it to their postpartum visit, with the lowest rates in the most disenfranchised communities. This is concerning, because 53% of maternal deaths occur 7—365 days after delivery.
Monitor your risk factors
Work with your care team to ensure you are in the best of health, especially if you plan on becoming pregnant again. The time between pregnancies is a critical period for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  • Your body has undergone many changes during pregnancy and birth. This is an important time to continue to work with a clinician to optimize your health.
  • Prioritize your physical health, mental health and stress management.
  • Set reminders to schedule yearly well-woman visits, continue to track your numbers and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Tell your clinician if you have a history of any major health risks during pregnancy, since this may put you at long-term risk for heart and brain disorders.

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