5 Heart Conditions Pregnancy May Affect

Melanie Thomassian Health Pro
  • The heart is the hardest working muscle in your whole body, and so in pregnancy, because of the increased blood volume and extra strain, it is working extremely hard.


    Heart disease occurs in a small percentage of all pregnancies, sometimes it is known before pregnancy, but sometimes it only becomes apparent during pregnancy. Obviously, because of the physical changes occurring in pregnancy you may experience problems if you have heart disease.


    To make sure you are healthy, it’s important to visit your medical team regularly so they can keep a close watch on how you're doing.


    Here are some of the common heart conditions, which may be affected by pregnancy:

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    1. Mitral stenosis 

    “Mitral stenosis is a heart valve disorder that involves the mitral valve. This valve separates the upper and lower chambers on the left side of the heart. Stenosis refers to a condition in which the valve does not open fully, restricting blood flow.”


    In pregnancy, this can lead to difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, and lung congestion. Medication may be needed to regulate the heart, and strict monitoring by your medical team will be required.


    2. Atrial septal defect (ASD)

    “ASD is a congenital heart defect in which the wall that separates the upper heart chambers (atria) does not close completely. Congenital means the defect is present at birth.”


    Most women with ASD do not have serious complications during pregnancy, however fatigue is pretty common.


    3. Ventricular septal defect (VSD)

    “Ventricular septal defect describes one or more holes in the wall that separates the right and left ventricles of the heart. Ventricular septal defect is one of the most common congenital (present from birth) heart defects. It may occur by itself or with other congenital diseases.“


    Most women with small VSD do not have serious complications during pregnancy.


    4. Aortic stenosis (AS)

    “The aorta is the main artery leaving the heart. When blood leaves the heart, it flows from the lower chamber (the left ventricle), through the aortic valve, into the aorta. In aortic stenosis, the aortic valve does not open fully. This restricts blood flow.”


    If you have severe AS you may be advised against becoming pregnant, because of the serious effects of pregnancy on this heart condition. Intensive care is often required so that invasive monitoring of the heart and pressures within the heart may be used.


    5. Mitral valve prolapse (MVP)

    “Mitral valve prolapse occurs when one of your heart's valves doesn't work properly. MVP is one of the more common heart valve conditions. Most often, it's a lifelong condition that a person is born with. Most people with MVP have no symptoms or problems, need no treatment, and are able to lead normal, active lives.“


    Most women have no difficulty in pregnancy with MVP. Antibiotics may be given at delivery to prevent infection.  


    If you have a history of heart disease, heart murmur, or high blood pressure you should speak with your doctor before getting pregnant, so that you can talk things through and plan for a healthy pregnancy.


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Published On: July 13, 2009