Background: A history of preeclampsia is a risk factor for the future development of hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The objective of this study was to assess, in women with prior preeclampsia, the level of knowledge regarding the link between preeclampsia and CVD, motivators for and barriers to lifestyle change and interest in a lifestyle modification program to decrease CVD risk following a pregnancy complicated by preeclampsia.
Methods: Twenty women with a history of preeclampsia participated in 5 phone-based focus groups. Focus groups were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. Qualitative content analysis was used to identify common themes across focus groups. Consensus was reached on a representative set of themes describing the data.
Results: Women with prior preeclampsia were in general unaware of the link between preeclampsia and future CVD but eager to learn about this link and motivated to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Major perceived barriers to lifestyle change were lack of time, cost of healthy foods and family responsibilities. Perceived facilitators included knowledge of the link between preeclampsia and CVD, a desire to stay healthy, and creating a healthy home for their children. Women with prior preeclampsia were interested in the idea of a web-based program focused on lifestyle strategies to decrease CVD risk in women.
Conclusions: Women with prior preeclampsia were eager to learn about the link between preeclampsia and CVD and to take steps to reduce CVD risk. A web-based program to help women with prior preeclampsia adopt a healthy lifestyle may be an appropriate strategy for this population.