Common Heart Conditions and Pregnancy

doctor takes pregnant patient's blood pressure

Pregnancy adds extra strain on a woman’s heart and blood vessels, which could lead to cardiovascular as well as other health problems.

Pregnancy's metabolic demands — “nature’s stress test” — can expose heart issues that weren't known before. This happens in part because the body is carrying more weight. But changing hormones also play a role.

Ailments that arise during pregnancy may have lasting effects on women’s long-term health.


Heart trouble doesn't just arise in women late in life.

Serious Heart Conditions

These can arise in and around pregnancy.

nurse checks pregnant woman's blood pressure

Pregnancy Can Elevate the Risk of HBP in Women

Some women who have never had high blood pressure develop it while they are pregnant.

Preeclampsia is usually characterized by the onset of high blood pressure that is lasting and can lead to various complications.

Learn how it affects 1 in 25 pregnancies in the U.S and what you can do.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women who did not have diabetes before they were pregnant.

Researchers aren’t sure what causes gestational diabetes, though excess weight before pregnancy may play a role.

Half of all women who had gestational diabetes develop Type 2 diabetes later in life.

pregnant woman eating fruit on couch
pregnant woman reads tablet in bed

Stroke and Pregnancy

When blood supply to part of the brain is blocked, or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, a stroke may occur.

Pregnancy elevates a woman’s stroke risk.

Many women may overlook stroke symptoms as routine issues related to pregnancy.

pregnant woman in bed

Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM)

PPCM is an uncommon form of heart failure that happens during the last month of pregnancy or up to five months after giving birth.

father kisses baby foot

Congenital Heart Defects

Women born with heart defects that have been repaired can have a safe, low-risk pregnancy.