Welcome! Login | Register
 

The Scoop: Elorza Requests Investigation Into Possible Ballot Tampering, Fung Tours Brutopia—Welcome back to The Scoop, the 4 p.m.…

RI Department of Health Releases Ebola Update—The Rhode Island Department of Health has releases…

Obama Reschedules Rhode Island Visit—Barack Obama has rescheduled his visit to Rhode…

NEW: Cianci Responds to Mail Ballot Tampering Accusations—Independent candidate for Mayor Vincent Cianci has released…

Rome Packing Co., Inc. Recalls Crab Meat—Rome Packing Co., Inc. has issued a voluntary…

Herb Weiss: Mistaken Identity Can Be Hazardous to Your Business—Eastside customers of The Camera Werks, a long-time…

10 Dishes That Show Providence’s Love of Bacon—Early man would be nothing without the invention…

5 Live Music Musts - October 24, 2014—“5 Live Music Musts” features rock and roll,…

Tom Finneran: I’m Joe Citizen and I Disapprove These Messages—We’re less than two weeks away from Election…

The Scoop: Fung Releases New Television Ad, Smith Blasts Paiva-Weed, and More—Welcome back to The Scoop, the 4 p.m.…

 
 

Will Heart Disease Affect Your Baby If You’re Pregnant?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

 

If you have heart disease, are you putting yourself at risk with a pregnancy?

While the idea of becoming pregnant with a heart condition might seem a little scary, Margaret Miller, M.D., director of the Women’s Medicine Collaborative in Providence, Rhode Island, says most women with heart disease – including conditions like arrhythmia, heart murmurs, mitral valve prolapse and high blood pressure – will have a healthy baby, especially if they receive the proper care and monitoring.

“There are still some who believe that women with heart disease or cardiac issues shouldn’t get pregnant because it would be too risky. However, that’s definitely not the case. Heart disease and cardiac conditions can be safely managed during pregnancy,” says Miller, an obstetric medicine physician who cares for pregnant women with underlying medical conditions.

Plan carefully

She recommends women with existing heart conditions carefully plan their pregnancies and be sure they are using an effective form of birth control until their disease is adequately controlled. It is also recommended that these women seek care from a multidisciplinary team of providers who have expertise in the management of cardiac issues in pregnancy.

“Women with heart conditions should consider a preconception consult, which will give the woman and her physician an opportunity to optimize cardiac function, discuss risks in pregnancy, review medications and make a plan for the pregnancy, as well as labor and delivery,” Miller says. “Many heart medications can be used safely during pregnancy, and in fact, untreated cardiac disease can pose a greater risk than most medications.”

Pregnancy + the cardiovascular system

According to Miller, pregnancy is associated with significant changes in the cardiovascular system. The heart rate increases by an average of 10 to 20 beats per minute, and because the heart is pumping more blood, the cardiac output is higher. These normal physiologic changes can cause many pregnant women to experience heart palpitations, or a fast heart rate, a common – yet harmless – cardiac “symptom.”

There is a heart condition specific to pregnancy called peripartum cardiomuopathy, which is a form of heart failure that can occur in the last month of pregnancy or early postpartum period. It is rare, but Miller says women who experience a significant and new onset of shortness of breath, palpitations, lightheadedness or chest pain in the end of pregnancy or postpartum should be checked by their physician as soon as possible.

Pregnancy + heart attacks

While actual heart attacks during pregnancy are very rare, Miller says the rise in obesity and diabetes could lead to more cases in the future. “Most providers do not think about a heart attack in a young woman, but women who have new onset chest pain – especially if it is associated with shortness of breath, sweating, nausea or dizziness – should receive medical treatment right away,” she adds.

She also points out that women who have preeclampsia – a potentially serious condition in pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, sometimes with fluid retention and protein in the urine – during their pregnancy have a higher risk of heart disease later in life.

“Knowing that pre-eclampsia can potentially ‘predict’ who might go on to develop heart disease, we can now be vigilant when it comes to screening and testing women with a history of preeclampsia in order to prevent the onset of disease,” Miller says.
 

 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.