Women who deliver their babies prematurely risk having heart disease and strokes later in life, research has shown.
A recent study published in the Circulation Journal shows that mothers who give birth at between 32 and 37 weeks have a higher chance (42 per cent) of developing cardiovascular disease compared to those that carry their pregnancy to term.
The risk further doubles to more than 80 per cent among women that deliver before 32 weeks.
The study was based on health data from more than 70,000 women.
According to the researchers, affected women should thus take precaution early enough and have medical check-ups to catch any complications arising from heart diseases.
Early diagnosis usually improves treatment and survival outcomes.
The recommended duration of pregnancy is 40 weeks, but deliveries made after 37 weeks are usually considered normal and safe.
Common causes of early births or preterm deliveries include multiple pregnancies, infections and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), almost one million children die each year due to complications of preterm birth.
Many survivors face a lifetime of learning, visual and hearing disabilities as a result of it.