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Is Pregnancy With a Heart Condition Too Risky?

shutterstock_209525794_230resizeIf you have a heart problem, you may have heard that your condition will interfere with plans to start a family.

According to cardiologist Dr. David Majdalany: “The majority of women who have heart conditions should be able to carry a pregnancy under the care of a multidisciplinary team successfully.”

Although women can have successful pregnancies with a heart condition, it does come with a number of potential risks. During pregnancy, the heart needs to work harder due to changes in the heart and blood vessels. These changes may include:

  • An increase in blood volume
  • An increase in cardiac output
  • An increase in heart rate
  • A decrease in blood pressure

According to Jeff Chapa, MD, head of the maternal-fetal medicine at Cleveland Clinic, it’s important that you be evaluated prior to conceiving to find out if your heart will be able to tolerate the added strain.

“Initially, you’ll want to be evaluated by both a cardiologist and a high-risk obstetrician, who can work together to help you come up with a plan,” said Dr. Chapa.

Dr. Chapa says that three things can happen:

  1. Your doctor will give you the green light to get pregnant.
  2. You may need some treatment before your body is ready for pregnancy.
  3. Your body is unable to handle the added strain of getting pregnancy and delivery. But remember – even in these extreme cases, adoption is an option.

It is very uncommon for a heart condition to make pregnancy too risky.  If you suspect your heart may not be ready for pregnancy, the best thing to do is to consult a doctor.

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