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Pregnancy and Heart Disease

 

by the Go Red For Women Editors

The American Heart Association recommends scheduling a “pre-pregnancy” evaluation with your primary doctor and cardiologist to discuss any concerns you may have connected to pregnancy and heart disease.

Women with repaired congenital heart disease can have a safe pregnancy with very little risk. But body changes during the second and third trimesters can cause an increase in symptoms, even for women without preexisting problems.

Here are a few tips to note before getting pregnant.

Talk to your doctor about your form of heart disease

Some types of heart disease can pose such a high risk to the mother and baby that pregnancy is not recommended. These types include severe heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, Cyanosis and Eisenmenger’s syndrome (the combination of Cyanosis and pulmonary hypertension). Talk to your cardiologist before getting pregnant if you currently have any of these conditions.

Pay attention to your blood pressure

Blood pressure levels are incredibly important when it comes to pregnancy. If you have high blood pressure going into your pregnancy, talk to your doctor and devise a plan for lowering it through diet and exercise.

The American Heart Association recommends taking the following precautions before getting pregnant: Watch your diet and limit your sodium intake, start (and maintain) 150 minutes of physical activity per week, stop using tobacco and alcohol and lose weight.

Talk to your doctor about your blood pressure meds

Book an appointment with your doctor to discuss any blood pressure medications that you are currently taking. Medications such as an ACE inhibitors or ARBs have been shown to be dangerous to mothers and babies during pregnancy because they can cause kidney failure, high potassium levels and low blood pressure.

Note: Do not discontinue any medications without talking to your doctor first.

Learn more about High Blood Pressure and Women and Heart Disease Impact on Females by the American Heart Association on Heart.org.