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Heart Disease Guide

Christine Jeffries

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I Have a Heart Condition, Is It Safe to Get Pregnant?

By Dita Faulkner
 
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With so many advances in medicines, a lot of conditions can be controlled while pregnant; this is true with different types of heart problems as well. Every year, women with heart conditions have healthy babies. But this is not without knowing the risks and taking the necessary precautions.

Just what are the risks?

The Mayo Clinic's website states that the risks depend upon the nature and severity of the heart ailment. Some may not cause concern, such as minor abnormalities in heart rhythms. But if you have an artificial heart valve or scarred and/or malformed valves, this can increase the risk of developing a potentially life-threatening infection in the lining of the heart and heart valves (endocarditis) during pregnancy. If you have congestive heart failure, there is a chance it may worsen during this time. And those with congenital heart failure may pass this condition on to the baby.

Of course, some ailments cause more complications than others. Serious life-threatening conditions require heart surgery, typically before you conceive. But with some conditions, (pulmonary hypertension or Eisenmenger’s syndrome), pregnancy is not recommended at all.

So what are some precautions?

If you already know you have heart problems, schedule an appointment with all the appropriate doctors and heath care providers. It will take a team, including cardiologists and family doctors. They will evaluate your current and past medical history to see if you are physically ready to be pregnant. Also, normal medicines used to manage this condition cannot be used during pregnancy. So medicines will be adjusted or changed temporarily. It is very important to take any prescribed medicines strictly as directed.

Expect to have to make frequent doctors visits. This is to monitor the baby’s growth or abnormalities as well as your overall well-being. Keep the following tips in mind:

Keep your prenatal appointments.

Take your medication as prescribed.

Get plenty of rest.

Monitor your weight.

Prevent blood clots by sitting with uncrossed legs, wearing support stockings, and if needed, taking prescribed medications.

Stay cool.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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