Indexed on: 08 Aug '12Published on: 08 Aug '12Published in: Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine
Inadequate placental development results in a number of untoward pregnancy outcomes, including pre-eclampsia, placental abruption and infarction, and fetal growth restriction and stillbirth. Although it was once assumed that these pregnancy-related complications caused only upfront maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality, poor placental development and function is now a well-recognized female-specific risk factor for future vascular morbidity and mortality. The epidemiological, genetic, and physiological research linking placental development and cardiovascular disease is growing, and this knowledge will undoubtedly not only translate into improved pregnancy outcomes for at-risk women, but also help to identify which women who had a complicated pregnancy could benefit from long-term follow-up and risk modification for cardiovascular disease. This article reviews the literature and provides suggestions for future follow-up of this vulnerable population of women.