open the My Go Red Plan popup

Birth Control and Heart Disease

 

by the Go Red For Women Editors

Women who have congenital heart disease are safe in using most forms of birth control, but before starting any medication regimen, it is important to talk to your doctor about your specific concerns. The American Heart Association recommends consulting with your primary care physician, gynecologist and cardiologist before beginning birth control, just to be safe.

Birth control options 

Progesterone-only birth control: Depo-Provera (a.k.a. the shot), the mini pill or Implanon (birth control implant) are safe for women with heart disease, in most cases. It is important to note, though, that these forms of birth control may lead to fluid retention.

Intrauterine devices: Intrauterine devices, or IUDs (t-shaped devices implanted by a doctor into the uterus to prevent pregnancy) are also useful for women with heart disease. These types of birth control methods are only recommended for women in stable or monogamous relationships because they do not guard against sexually transmitted diseases.

Tubal ligation: Tubal ligation, also referred to as “getting your tubes tied,” is a permanent sterilization procedure for women. This is safe for women with heart disease but it only recommended for women who no longer want to have children. It can be performed surgically or vaginally.

Birth control and blood pressure

Doctors and researchers have found a link between birth control pills and an increase in blood pressure among some women. They say that it is more likely to occur in women who are already overweight, have kidney disease or have a family history of high blood pressure.

Note: A combination of birth control pills and smoking can be very dangerous to women and is not recommended. Especially in younger women, the combination of birth control pills and smoking increases the risk of heart disease by a whopping 20 percent.

Worried about your blood pressure and how it relates to birth control usage? Consult your doctor before starting any medications and have your blood pressure levels checked every six months to make sure you are in a healthy range.

Learn more about Birth Control and Pregnancy and High Blood Pressure and Women from the American Heart Association on Heart.org.