Pregnancy, birth and baby

What a heart patient should know before pregnancy

Pregnancy puts a lot of pressure on the heart and circulatory system, but many women can still have healthy babies despite these problems. But first, you need to be aware of the dangers that cause these problems and avoid them.

If you have a heart problem or a specific disease, you should be under intensive care during pregnancy.

What effect does pregnancy have on the human heart?

Pregnancy puts pressure on your heart and circulatory system, and your blood volume increases by about 30 to 50 percent so that your growing baby can be fed through it. As a result, your heart rate pumps more blood every minute, which increases the mother’s heart rate.

Delivery may also pressure the mother’s heart because changes in blood pressure and blood flow occur during childbirth. It takes several weeks after delivery for this pressure to be removed from the spirit and return to normal.

What are the risks of pregnancy with heart disease?

Risks vary depending on the nature and severity of the condition and the heart problem, for example:

Heart rhythm problems

Sometimes mild abnormalities can disrupt your heart rhythm during pregnancy, which is usually nothing to worry about. Your doctor may prescribe medication to treat this problem, as well as when people are not pregnant.

Heart valve problems

An artificial heart valve or malfunctioning or any cavities or sores in this area can increase the risk of pregnancy problems. If your heart valve is not working correctly, there is a possibility of increased blood flow, common during pregnancy. Also, abnormal heart valves or artificial valves improve the risk of dangerous infections.

Inserting an artificial heart valve can also pose a serious risk during pregnancy, in which case blood-thinning drugs are usually prescribed. However, taking these drugs can be dangerous for the baby.

Congestive heart failure

As blood volume increases, congestive heart failure worsens.

Congenital heart defect

If you were born with a congenital heart defect, your baby might inherit the same problem from you. This problem usually occurs during pregnancy or very soon after delivery.

Are heart problems more dangerous than other problems during pregnancy?

Some heart problems, especially mitral valve or narrow aorta, can be life-threatening for both mother and fetus.

Depending on the problem, some of these conditions require essential treatment before pregnancy, such as heart surgery.

Pregnancy is not recommended for women with sporadic congenital heart problems, such as Eisenmenger syndrome or high blood pressure. It may affect the arteries inside the lungs and cause complete damage to one side of the heart.

Risks of medications for heart patients during pregnancy:

Medications taken during pregnancy can affect the baby. If you need medication to control your heart condition, your cardiologist should prescribe it so that the slightest harm is not done to the fetus. Also, the mother should take the medication exactly as her doctor advised and never change the dose.

How should I prepare for pregnancy?

Before becoming pregnant, you should consult a cardiologist and talk to him or her about your heart problems. She is likely to point out the risks to you and your baby during pregnancy.

They may also take tests from you in such cases, and as a result of these tests, the medical team can assess how well they can control your heart problems.

Certain medications are used to treat heart problems that should not be taken during pregnancy. Depending on your situation, your specialist will change the dose of medicine or medication for you.

Grouping of heart diseases during pregnancy:

first group

People in this group can get pregnant with special care. In this group, the patient has no signs or symptoms of heart failure if he does not work hard.

The second group

In patients in this group, symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, palpitations, etc., are observed during activity. Still, there are no symptoms at rest and with regular and daily activities; this group also can become pregnant with caution and special care.

The third group

Pregnancy is relatively forbidden in these patients. Patients in this group have no heart failure symptoms at rest, but with the slightest regular activity during the day, they experience signs of heart problems.

The fourth group

Pregnancy is strictly forbidden in this group, and if you are pregnant, your doctor will recommend an abortion. In this group, the patient also has problems and discomfort at rest.

Tests to diagnose heart problems in pregnancy:

In these cases, tests may be done on your heart, which include the following:

Echo of the heart

Echocardiography is a type of ultrasound that takes a picture of your heart and shows the heart’s structure.

Electrocardiogram

This test records the condition and electrical activity of the heart.

What are the signs and symptoms that I should report to my doctor?

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Irregular pulse rate
  • Chest pain
  • Bloody cough
  • Hand and foot instability

How can I be sure that the fetus is well?

Specialists in such cases monitor the fetus’s growth. They will also perform regular ultrasound tests to check the baby’s development and the rapid diagnosis of defects, especially in the heart.

Sometimes it may be necessary for the baby to start treatment precisely a few days after birth.

How can heart problems be prevented during pregnancy?

Always take care of yourself. By taking care of yourself, you can also ensure the health of your child. For example, do the following:

  • Be sure to consult your doctor before giving birth and thoroughly explain your condition to him.
  • Take medicine exactly as your doctor advised. Your doctor will usually prescribe the best treatment for you in this situation.
  • Get enough rest. Take a nap every day to soothe your tired body and avoid strenuous physical activity.
  • Control your weight gain. Being overweight during pregnancy indicates your baby is growing, but being overweight will put more strain on your heart.
  • Control your anxiety and anger. Ask your doctor to explain the possible problems and dangers to you and prepare yourself. You can be more relaxed by knowing the facts and issues.

How will these people give birth?

In this case, your doctor will advise you to give birth in a specialized center with high equipment. If you are concerned about your blood flow or heart problems, a cardiologist will be present during your delivery.

Special equipment is also available upon delivery, and heart rate and rhythm are also monitored during delivery.

The baby’s contractions and heart rate should also be closely monitored. During labor, you may be asked to lie on your back and extend one leg from your knees to your chest.

Your doctor may inject you with painkillers to reduce pressure, stress, and pain.

If you are at risk for endocarditis, you may be given antibiotics before and after giving birth. Cesarean delivery due to heart disease is usually not recommended for these people.

Can I breastfeed my baby despite heart problems?

Breastfeeding is usually done by many women who have heart problems or even those who are taking medication, but in any case, a treatment plan is provided by your doctor.

If your heart disease is congenital, you may have trouble breastfeeding, and your doctor may prevent you from doing so because common infections may occur.

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