Pregnancy Complications as Markers for Subsequent Maternal Cardiovascular Disease: Validation of a Maternal Recall Questionnaire

Ebony Boyce Carter, Jennifer J. Stuart, Leslie V. Farland, Janet W. Rich-Edwards, Chloe A. Zera, Thomas F. McElrath, Ellen W. Seely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Background: We designed and tested the validity of a questionnaire to characterize maternal recall of pregnancy complications associated with increased future cardiovascular disease risk, based on the 2011 American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines. Methods: A maternal recall questionnaire of pregnancy history was administered to 971 patients who had participated in a previous cohort study of 1,608 pregnant women. Medical records from the study pregnancy served as the gold standard. Prevalence, sensitivity (sens), specificity (spec), positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and/or Spearman's correlation coefficients (r) were calculated for each question. Results: A total of 526 (54%) individuals recontacted responded. Respondents were more likely to be older, white, educated, and nulliparous and were less likely to deliver low-birthweight infants in the study pregnancy than were individuals who did not respond. Mean length of recall was 4.35 years (standard deviation [SD] 0.46) postpartum. Maternal recall was most accurate for gestational diabetes (sens: 92%, spec: 98%, PPV: 79%, NPV: 99%), infant birthweight (r=0.95), and gestation length (r=0.85). Maternal recall was modest for preeclampsia (sens: 79%, spec: 97%, PPV: 68%, NPV: 98%) and pregnancy-associated hypertension, including preeclampsia or gestational hypertension (sens: 60%, spec: 95%, PPV: 64%, NPV: 94%). Conclusions: This validation study demonstrated that the majority of women could accurately recall a history of gestational diabetes, infant birthweight, and gestational age at delivery, 4 years postpartum on average. Recall of preeclampsia and pregnancy-associated hypertension overall was modest. Maternal report of these pregnancy conditions may help clinicians identify women at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-712
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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