Heart health and pregnancy

Heart health and pregnancy - this is a topic we get asked about a lot! If you have a problem with your heart and you are pregnant or plan to get pregnant then it is important that you take extra care. You should talk to a medical professional as soon as you find out about the pregnancy so that they can care for you and your baby in the best way possible. Unfortunately, some people will be advised against getting pregnant to avoid any life-threatening complications.

Talk to your GP or heart specialist before you get pregnant so that they can advise you on the best steps and precautions to take during your pregnancy. They will discuss your medication and any possible risks during this conversation. Most women will be carefully monitored throughout the 9 months and during labour, so that any changes can be spotted quickly.

So what is the link between heart health and pregnancy? During a pregnancy your heart and circulatory system are under extra strain, therefore could worsen the condition of your heart. The volume of blood that is traveling around your increases by 30-50%, so that the baby has enough nourishment to grow. This increases the heart rate. If you experience any of the following symptoms during your pregnancy you should seek medical advice:

  • Problems with breathing

  • Shortness of breath

  • Rapid heart rate, irregular pulse or heart palpitations

  • Chest pain

  • Coughing at night or coughing up blood

Some conditions that affect the heart are inherited (passed down through the family) or congenital (develop in the womb). If you are worried about your baby also having problems with their heart, your medical team can arrange for tests and scans to be done to put your mind at ease. When we discuss the topic of heart health and pregnancy with our patients we always remind them that no question is too small, no concern too minor and remember – we are here to help you.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.