Women's Health
Pregnancy and Heart Disease

​​​Introduction:

The heart is a hollow muscle in the center of the chest slanted to the left in the human body. It is the organ that pumps blood throughout the blood vessels. During pregnancy, changes occur in the circulatory system, including:
  • Increase in the amount of blood pumped by the heart (20-50%), because of progesterone. 
  • Increase in blood volume.
  • Increase in heart rate.
Heart problems affect heart muscle and blood vessels, which are the main cause of death during pregnancy and birth. 

Care for Pregnant Women with Heart Disease:
  • Pre-pregnancy: Consult a specialist to make choices about pregnancy.
  • During Pregnancy: Establish a periodic follow-up schedule to maintain the mother's health and to avoid complications.
  • Childbirth: Vaginal birth with epidural anesthesia is the ideal way to give birth, in order to reduce pressure on the heart muscle, unless there are risk signs.
  • After Birth: Observation is important in the first two weeks after delivery to resolve sudden postnatal changes, and follow-up with the doctor for 6 months.

Guidelines for Heart Disease Patients:
  • Ensure regular visit to healthcare provider during pregnancy.
  • Take medications as instructed by your doctor.
  • Ensure to rest and avoid strenuous physical effort. 
  • Monitor your weight and make sure not to exceed the normal rate necessary for the development of the fetus.
  • Avoid anxiety and tension.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol.
Risk Factors:
  • You should see your doctor as soon as these symptoms appear: 
  • Breathing difficulties. 
  • Heart palpitations and rapid or irregular pulses. 
  • Chest pain.
  • Nighttime coughs or coughing up blood. 

Breastfeeding and Heart Disease:
Mothers with heart disease are encouraged to breastfeed after consulting their doctors about any changes in their treatment and available options. 

 



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