Objectives We aimed to assess women’s perceptions on the long-term risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD) after major pregnancy complications.
Methods Women who experienced major pregnancy complications and those who experienced uncomplicated pregnancies were invited to participate in a qualitative study. Focus group discussions (FGDs) and self-administered questionnaires were used to explore: The knowledge of long-term sequelae after experiencing a major pregnancy complication; Importance of education on heart health; The practicality of referral to a clinic after pregnancy complications; Willingness for regular postpartum clinic visits after pregnancy complications. A thematic qualitative analysis was undertaken.
Results 26 women participated in four FGDs. The majority of women did not know of the association between major pregnancy complications and CVD. The main views expressed were: Women who experience pregnancy complications should receive education on improving heart health; An appointment for the first CVD risk screening visit needs to be made prior to discharge from the delivery suite; Women will benefit by having the option to select between a hospital and a general-practitioner based model of follow up.
Conclusions These views are important in developing postpartum strategies to reduce CVD risk among women who experience pregnancy complications.
- Cardiovascular disease
- Pregnancy complications
- Heart health