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Epidemiology. 2001 Jul;12(4):456-60.

Increased risks of circulatory diseases in late pregnancy and puerperium.

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Department of Medical Epidemiology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


We studied a nationwide Swedish cohort with 654,957 women who had 1,003,489 deliveries from 1987 through September 1995 to assess late pregnancy and puerperal risks of circulatory diseases. We used standardized incidence rate ratios to calculate relative risks [with 95% confidence intervals (CIs)]. Compared with unexposed (nonpregnant and early pregnant) women, relative risks of venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism during the third trimester were 6.7 (95% CI = 5.7--7.8) and 2.7 (95% CI = 1.7--4.2), respectively. Around delivery (from 2 days before to 1 day after delivery), the relative risks of all assessed circulatory diseases were dramatically increased: venous thrombosis, 115.1 (95% CI = 96.4--137.0); pulmonary embolism, 80.7 (95% CI = 53.9--117.9); subarachnoid hemorrhage, 46.9 (95% CI = 19.3--98.4); intracerebral hemorrhage, 95.0 (95% CI = 42.1--194.8); cerebral infarction, 33.8 (95% CI = 10.5--84.0); and myocardial infarction, 27.0 (95% CI = 0.6--180.0). During the rest of the first 6 weeks postpartum, the risks declined but were still substantially increased for all diseases, with the exception of subarachnoid hemorrhage. The results suggest that the increased risk for circulatory diseases related to pregnancy is mainly confined to a few days around delivery.

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