Cardiac diseases in pregnancy is among the four common causes of maternal deaths. It is considered dangerous and hence, requires proper precautions and treatment. Read the article to get more information about this topic.
Pregnancy heralds a lot of changes in women, both physical and psychological. These changes are usually adapted by the body and the pregnancy period goes well. Cardiovascular changes in the body are among the most common ones. The blood volume of the body increases by 40 to 50% during this period which increases the cardiac output by 30 to 40% and heartbeat by 10 to 15 beats per minute.
These changes are common and subside as the baby is delivered. But in some cases, cardiovascular conditions may become worse. Cardiac diseases are becoming very common these days in pregnant women. The reasons behind this fact are many, which can be avoided with the help of some simple ways. Let’s find out the causes and types of cardiac diseases which are observed during pregnancy.
Cardiovascular Diseases in Pregnancy
Some women have preexisting cardiac disease, while some may acquire it during pregnancy. In both the cases women need to be very careful. Some pre-existing diseases are very serious in nature as they can even lead to death. Hence. it is important to know about the cardiac diseases that require prompt attention and treatment.
Pre-existing Cardiac Disease
There are many women who have cardiac disease before pregnancy. Under such conditions a woman needs to take extra care if she is planning to get pregnant. Hence, if you are suffering from any of the following diseases then consult a doctor before getting pregnant.
Congenital Heart Conditions
Congenital heart diseases such as atrial septal defects (ASD), ventricular septal defects (VSD) and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) may be observed in many women. It is usually considered safe to conceive, but it also depends upon the severity of the disease. In this disease an opening enlarges in the septum (which divides the left and right side of the heart) due to which the blood flows back to the right side and is returned to the lungs. This condition can be cured but consult a doctor before planning to get pregnant.
There are mostly two conditions associated with this disease: aortic valve stenosis and mitral valve stenosis. In aortic valve stenosis the valve between the left ventricle and the aorta narrows or becomes stiff, whereas in mitral valve stenosis the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle narrows. This may create problems in pumping blood, especially when the women is pregnant, as the volume of blood increases.
Prosthetic (Artificial) Valves
Women who have artificial valves may face some complications in pregnancy as they requires lifelong anticoagulant medication which can be harmful for the baby. It also increases the chances of blood clots which can be very dangerous.
Other Cardiac Diseases
Arrhythmias, or abnormal heartbeat, is one of the problems which may cause complications at the time of pregnancy. Aortic aneurysm or dilated aorta may increase the risk of rupturing of aorta, which can be dangerous.
Acquired Cardiac Disease
Following diseases are acquired during pregnancy. They can be usually treated and can be controlled by following some precautionary measures.
It is a rare cardiac condition which is observed in the last month, or within five months of pregnancy. Symptoms resemble those of heart failure. But the heart usually comes back to its normal functioning after pregnancy. However, some women may continue facing poor left ventricular problems.
High blood pressure or hypertension can be observed during pregnancy. It may cause fluid retention, swelling, protein in urine which can create dangerous circumstances. This condition is also known as pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) .
Overflow of the blood can heard as a murmuring sound. Usually, it is not considered to be harmful, but in some cases it can create some problems in the heart valve. You need to get it diagnosed to find out the actual cause of heart murmuring.
Arrhythmias is related to very slow or very fast heartbeat which can be observed regularly or irregularly. Heart palpitations during pregnancy is one of the symptoms of arrhythmias. Though this condition is considered normal, you should get it checked if you observe any such symptoms.
Causes of Cardiac Diseases During Pregnancy
Cardiovascular changes takes place in all women during pregnancy, and these changes are helpful in providing oxygen, nutrients and other important minerals to the fetus. But some women are unable to support these changes due to many reasons. Following are some of the causes of acquired cardiac diseases during pregnancy.
- Pregnancy age matters a lot. If the pregnancy occurs in the 30s, it increases the chances of acquiring cardiovascular problems.
- If the woman has a family history of cardiac disease, hypertension, obesity then chances that she will develop cardiac problems in pregnancy are high.
- Women belonging to immigrant communities may develop cardiovascular problems due to the change in demography.
- Advanced medical technology has made pregnancy possible even at a very late age, which can be one of the cause of getting cardiovascular diseases. Better care and attention is given to women with congenital cardiac disease that increases their chances of getting pregnant at a later age, though this can be dangerous for the mother as well as the child.
Treatment for Cardiovascular Diseases During Pregnancy
Treatment for cardiovascular diseases depends totally upon the type of diseases. Preexisting diseases need a lot of care and precaution. Hence, the best way to avoid complications in case of preexisting diseases is to consult a doctor before planning a pregnancy. Get pregnant if the doctor is sure about your safety, otherwise it can be very dangerous for both mother and child. If you have conceived, and want to go ahead with it then it’s time to take extra care of yourself.
The usage of anticoagulants should be carried out very carefully, as they can harm the baby. Antihypertensives, beta-blockers, or immunosuppressive drugs may be prescribed by the doctor to fight the symptoms. In cardiac problems the women need to go for regular check ups so that the doctor can closely monitor the blood pressure, weight and kidney function. If surgery is required, it can be done in the last trimester. In severe cases the doctor may suggest abortion or premature delivery.
Stay away from stress, exertion, smoking and drinking and take proper rest. Complications associated with cardiac diseases in pregnancy are life-threatening and if not taken care of in time may lead to death of both mother and child. So follow your doctor’s advice to keep yourself and your baby away from all problems.