The heart and circulatory system have to bear additional stresses during pregnancy, although many women give birth to healthy babies despite having heart problems. Still, special care should be taken of the heart during pregnancy period in order to avoid any complication.
How does pregnancy affect the heart?
Pregnancy leads to nearly 50 percent increase in your blood volume for nourishment of the growing baby. In addition to this the amount of blood which is pumped every minute by your heart also goes up by almost 50 per cent.
Moreover pregnancy leads to rise in your heart rate. All these changes put additional stress on your heart causing it to work harder.
The workload on your heart may further increase due to labor and delivery.
At the time of labor especially while pushing, you can have a sudden alteration in your blood flow besides undergoing change in blood pressure.
After delivering baby, you can experience drop in the rate of blood flow through uterus which in turn causes stress on your heart.
The risk factors may vary in accordance with the nature and intensity of underlying heart problems.
Abnormal heart rhythms like ventricular beats that may occur occasionally during pregnancy are not usually cause for worry.
If you have previously undergone surgery for replacement of heart valves, any complication during pregnancy may give rise to the risk of endocarditis which is a potentially fatal condition characterized by the inflammation of heart or heart valves.
If you are a patient of congenital heart disease your baby may also suffer this disease. This condition may also put you at the risk of prematurely delivering baby.
Some of the heart problems during pregnancy may put you as well as your baby at the risk of severe and fatal conditions such as constriction of aortic valve, Marfan syndrome (a condition in which connective tissue becomes weak), Eisenmenger’s syndrome and Cyanotic heart defects.
Your baby is likely to suffer side effect of any medication taken during pregnancy. However, in case you need medication for controlling your heart problem, your doctor may feel the need for prescribing the safest medication at proper dose. Do not take medication without prescription.