Heart disease is a leading cause of death during or following pregnancy, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

During pregnancy, women’s hearts are working 30 to 50% harder at rest.

In the past decades, preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and abnormalities to the kidney or liver after 20 weeks of pregnancy, has skyrocketed.

Preeclampsia which effects 1 in every 20 pregnant women is a leading cause of preterm birth and can also result in maternal death. It also doubles a woman’s risk of heart disease and stroke, and quadruples her risk of chronic hypertension.

Additionally, if a woman has a history of high blood pressure in pregnancy, she has a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease in her lifetime.

Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health and Dorothy Fink, M.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health challenge you to take care of your heart.

One way to look out for your heart is to check your blood pressure, according to the Office of Women’s Health.

Many pharmacies have blood pressure monitors where you can check your blood pressure for free.

Check your blood pressure often, write down your readings along with the time of day and your recent activities, and see your healthcare provider.

Also, make sure your family is taken care of by talking to them about their blood pressure numbers.