The number of women who have a heart attack during pregnancy, labor or in the weeks following birth appears to be rising.
In a new study, published Wednesday in the journal Mayo Clinical Proceedings, researchers looked at more than 49 million births. Among the women who gave birth, 1,061 had a heart attack during their labor and delivery; 922 had heart attacks during their pregnancy, and 2,390 women had heart attacks after they gave birth.
Overall, the risk of having a heart attack was relatively low. But the risk increased 25% from 2002 to 2014, the researchers found, which they call a concerning rise. Among women who had a heart attack during or immediately following pregnancy, the in-hospital mortality rate was 4.5%, which the researchers say is surprisingly high, given that women of child-bearing age are otherwise considered a low risk for heart attacks.