High blood pressure is a common problem for women when they are pregnant, and sometimes it can lead to pre-eclampsia. It's been reckoned to affect up to one in three pregnant women, but it was always thought to be a transitory condition - one that passes, never to return, once the baby was born.
But researchers have discovered that a woman who was hypertensive while pregnant is at high risk of developing it again in later life. She is also more likely to suffer a stroke and, to a lesser extent, heart disease.
Women who had pre-eclampsia are at greater risk than those who were just hypertensive during their pregnancy, concluded researchers from Aberdeen University.
Women who suffered pre-eclampsia in particular should be part of a care programme to reduce their risk of developing more serious heart conditions in later life, the researchers recommend.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2003; 326: 845-9).