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Pregnancy and Heart Disease

Pregnancy and Heart Disease

Pregnancy is one of the physiological conditions that places a considerable burden on the heart, forcing it to work harder for a significantly long period – nine months. While a normal heart is quite capable of taking this extra workload right in its stride, a diseased one may not be able to cope. Different kinds of heart disease may cause different problems during pregnancy.

A woman who has a history of heart disease, heart murmur, rheumatic fever or high blood pressure should talk with her healthcare provider before she decides to become pregnant. A woman who has congenital heart disease has a higher risk of having a baby with some type of heart defect. If this is your case, it’s very important to visit your healthcare provider often. You may need to have diagnostic tests done, such as a fetal ultrasound test.

Many people have fast or slow heartbeats that may be regular or irregular. These are called “arrhythmias.” They can develop for the first time during pregnancy in a woman with a normal heart or as a result of previously unknown heart disease.

There are three connections between pregnancy and heart-related problems.


pregnant heart patients need special care during pregnancy and delivery to avoid a pregnancy complication. Any pregnancy places an increased demand on the expectant mother’s heart. It is not surprising, then, that health risks are increased if a woman has heart disease. This is why women who are, or about to become pregnant are encouraged to work closely with their physician to determine which diagnostic tests, treatments or preventive measures (e.g., medication or bed rest) may be the most appropriate for her and for the developing baby. Some heart-related conditions carry greater dangers for the mother and/or the child than others. Studies show that good prenatal care, which includes close physician participation throughout the pregnancy, increases the chances of a healthy baby and mother.


heart-related conditions may develop in otherwise healthy women who become pregnant. These gestational heart-related problems include the following:


A heart defect or other congenital heart disease could develop in the fetus. In the vast majority of patients, the cause of congenital heart disease is unknown. However

, there are some risk factors that have been associated with a higher rate of congenital heart disease. These risk factors include:

If you have a heart condition, you and your healthcare provider should talk about it and plan for your pregnancy. You’ll also need to think about what may be involved in caring for your child later.

Here are some important things for any pregnant woman to do:



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