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Toronto's first cardiovascular clinic for new moms

February 14, 2014

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The first of its kind in Toronto, Sunnybrook's new 4P Clinic aims to help new moms lower their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

"The clinic is for high-risk women who experienced complications during their pregnancies. We are able to address risks that may impact subsequent pregnancies, as well as long-term cardiovascular health," says Dr. Karen Fleming, Family Medicine Obstetrics at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Over the years there has been a transition in care, with deliveries now performed primarily by obstetricians and midwives rather than family physicians. "Information about a patient's pregnancy is not necessarily available to family physicians or pediatricians, leaving the primary care provider unaware of important risk factors in mother and baby," says Dr. Fleming.

The clinic aims to bridge that information gap by collaborating with community healthcare partners. An inter-professional team including Dr. Fleming and a dietitian runs the 4P Clinic, which stands for pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, post-pregnancy and pediatrics.

Complications in pregnancy associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease include pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and preterm labor. Women who experience pre-eclampsia are also more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes.

While these complications impact close to 1 in 5 pregnancies in Ontario, physicians and patients are not always aware of the long-term consequences of hypertensive disorders. Children born to women who experience these complications are also at increased risk of developing health issues like obesity and diabetes.

"A diet that is low in fat and sodium, and rich in fruit and vegetables help to manage blood pressure, diabetes and a healthy body weight. These all reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease," says Daphna Steinberg, Registered Dietitian at Sunnybrook.

Other recommended lifestyle changes include quitting smoking and exercising for as little as 10 minutes at a time, for a total of 30 minutes a day, says Dr. Fleming. "A prescription for exercise is often as effective, if not better than, a prescription for medication when it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease."

Mom and baby

Full media release

Sunnybrook opens Toronto's first cardiovascular follow up clinic for new moms

TORONTO, Ontario (February 14, 2014) - The first of its kind in Toronto, Sunnybrook's new 4P Clinic aims to help new moms lower their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

"The clinic is for high-risk women who experienced complications during their pregnancies. We are able to address risks that may impact subsequent pregnancies, as well as long-term cardiovascular health," says Dr. Karen Fleming, Family Medicine Obstetrics at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Over the years there has been a transition in care, with deliveries now performed primarily by obstetricians and midwives rather than family physicians. "Information about a patient's pregnancy is not necessarily available to family physicians or pediatricians, leaving the primary care provider unaware of important risk factors in mother and baby," says Dr. Fleming.

The clinic aims to bridge that information gap by collaborating with community healthcare partners. An inter-professional team including Dr. Fleming and a dietitian runs the 4P Clinic, which stands for pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, post-pregnancy and pediatrics.

Complications in pregnancy associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease include pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and preterm labor. Women who experience pre-eclampsia are also more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes.

While these complications impact close to 1 in 5 pregnancies in Ontario, physicians and patients are not always aware of the long-term consequences of hypertensive disorders. Children born to women who experience these complications are also at increased risk of developing health issues like obesity and diabetes.

The majority of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack and stroke, is preventable. By making some healthy lifestyle choices and addressing pre-existing risk factors, women and their families can reduce their risk of developing this disease.

"A diet that is low in fat and sodium, and rich in fruit and vegetables help to manage blood pressure, diabetes and a healthy body weight. These all reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease," says Daphna Steinberg, Registered Dietitian at Sunnybrook.

Other recommended lifestyle changes include quitting smoking and exercising for as little as 10 minutes at a time, for a total of 30 minutes a day, says Dr. Fleming. "A prescription for exercise is often as effective, if not better than, a prescription for medication when it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease."

Media contact
Sybil Edmonds
sybil.edmonds@sunnybrook.ca
416-480-4040

 

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