Exploring Cardiac Health Risks For Mothers and Fetus

In many pregnant women, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of pregnancy complications in the United States. Cardiac diseases can occur as preexisting diseases, which are conditions you’ve had before you became pregnant or develop throughout the pregnancy (even while you didn’t previously have them). While most people with a heart condition can become pregnant and have a healthy baby, some women can face severe complications with their pregnancy and cardiac disease, becoming high-risk. This is because changes in a woman’s body can cause stress on the heart and vascular system, leading to or exacerbating their heart condition. 

Exploring The Cardiac Health Risks For Mothers and Their Babies 

During pregnancy, high-risk pregnancies resulting from a cardiac disease need to be monitored closely to prevent complications. Some cardiac-related high-risk pregnancy conditions that can arise over time include: 

  • Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia involves persistent high blood pressure throughout the pregnancy and causes high amounts of proteins in urine, often the first indicator of organ damage. This condition stresses the heart and organs and can be dangerous for the mom and her developing fetus. 
  • Gestational Hypertension: Gestational hypertension is a condition that causes high blood pressure that begins after the 20th week of pregnancy. Hypertension can contribute to preeclampsia development and become influenced by a history of hypertension. 
  • Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes can raise the risk of complications for mothers and their babies as it affects blood sugar levels. This condition can increase the risk of a c-section birth and preeclampsia and potentially lead the baby to become at risk of higher birth weights, breathing problems, and premature births. 
  • Arrhythmias: Pregnant women with some form of cardiac disease can also face arrhythmias or an irregular heartbeat. Some arrhythmias may not require treatment, but other women may require treatment depending on their health. 
  • Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection: As a life-threatening condition, SCAD causes a tear in one or more arteries supplying blood to your heart. This condition can occur within six weeks of delivery to the first week after giving birth and is often influenced by other factors such as diabetes and high blood pressure. 
  • Peripartum Cardiomyopathy: As a form of heart failure, this condition happens late throughout the pregnancy or can happen after giving birth and prevents your heart from pushing enough blood into your body. 

While these conditions can develop throughout the pregnancy, women with preexisting heart conditions can face an increased risk of these conditions when left unmanaged. For women, this can be an immediate indicator of a high-risk pregnancy, which requires consistent management and treatment from a fetal medicine specialist. 

Find Solutions For Heart Problems During Pregnancy Through Our Care

At Rosenburg Maternal-Fetal Medicine, we can work with you to find solutions and treatments to give you the best chance possible at a healthier pregnancy. When facing problems with your heart, our team of fetal medicine specialists can be here for you through every step through effective monitoring and long-term planning to give you effective pregnancy care. To learn more, schedule an appointment with our team today to receive your first consultation.