Pregnancy and the Heart
If you have a heart condition, you’ll need special care during pregnancy. Risk varies among the various heart conditions. For example abnormal heart rhythm issues, heart valve issues, patients with a weak heart (heart failure), patients with congenital heart defects require special care.
Pregnancy stresses your heart and circulatory system. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases by 30 to 50 percent. Your heart pumps more blood each minute and your heart rate increases. Labor and delivery add to your heart’s workload, too. During labor, particularly when you push, you’ll have abrupt changes in blood flow and pressure. It takes several weeks after delivery for the stresses on the heart to return to the levels they were before you became pregnant.
For patients with pre-existing heart conditions, before you try to conceive, schedule an appointment with your cardiologist and the health care provider who’ll be handling your pregnancy. Depending on your condition, treatment changes might be needed before you become pregnant. Certain medications used to treat heart conditions are not used during pregnancy. Depending on the circumstances, your health care provider might adjust the dosage or make a substitution and explain the risks involved. Investigations done may include blood tests, ECGs and echocardiograms (heart scan) depending on your condition. The previously mentioned tests (ECG/echocardiogram) are not harmful to the fetus if you are already pregnant.
Consult Dr Ang to discuss an appropriate treatment plan for your heart condition.