More women than men die each year of cardiovascular disease, which remains the leading cause of death in the United States. Sex-specific factors, including pregnancy-related disorders, should be considered when assessing cardiovascular (CV) risk in women. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy have been associated with CV risk later in life and may identify women in whom earlier primary prevention may reduce their risk. This article reviews the physiologic changes in blood pressure during pregnancy, current definitions of hypertensive diseases of pregnancy and preeclampsia, and postulated pathophysiologic mechanisms leading to preeclampsia that might contribute to later CV risk. Also summarized are studies providing evidence on the association between hypertensive diseases of pregnancy and future CV risk.