Mothers of babies with heart defects may have their own heart health risks Video

Transcript for Mothers of babies with heart defects may have their own heart health risks

studio this morning but we do want to talk about a “Gma” health alert. A first of its kind major new study that found mothers raising children with heart defects are more likely to have heart problems themselves. Chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton is here with more. Jen, this is huge news for women and heart disease which so often goes undetected and untreated. Potentially massive news for women’s health because we’re talking about the number one killer of women, heart disease and we’re talking about the number one most common congenital birth defect which is a heart defect. This was a massive study done in Quebec, Canada, looked at over 1 million women who had just given birth to babies with congenital heart defects both critical and noncritical or less severe. Followed them for 25 years to find out is there an association for the moms? We know about the babies. And they actually found that the moms who have had babies with heart defects were 25% more likely to be hospitalized for a cardiovascular event from stroke, heart attack to needing a heart transplant and what was interesting is the more critical or severe the defect in the baby, the sooner that cardiac event manifested in the mom. What do you know about what is putting them more at risk. We don’t understand. The theories out there, could there be a genetic predisposition that first showed up in the baby and manifests later in the mom? We don’t know. Interesting is a stress pathway. We know raising a child with any type of birth defect especially a congenital heart defect triggers a whole stress cascade and then there are common risk factors, diabetes, obesity that can earn crease the risk of a birth defect in a baby and then future heart disease in the mom. How can they reduce the risks? This is really the interesting thing here. There is a massive push now in the specialties of obgyn and cardiology to recognize the common ground and screen women if they require screening and to make the awareness not only in the mom but also in the health care provider. If you have had a pregnancy-related complication like gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia that is considered almost a failed stress test later on in life so we need to talk to each other and women need to be aware.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.