Heart Problems and Pregnancy....4

Heart Problems and Pregnancy....4

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8... Conditions that shouldn't stop you from getting pregnant
Many women with the following heart conditions can have a healthy pregnancy, even if doctors have advised them otherwise.
Heart Murmur: A heart murmur is an extra sound heard during a heartbeat, and it's very common. (In fact, some women develop one during pregnancy because of the increase in blood volume, Dr. Martin says.) If you have a murmur, talk to your doctor about whether you need to be evaluated further.
Arrythmias: Arrythmia is a technical word for an irregular heart rate. Some can worsen during pregnancy because your heart is working harder, or even develop for the first time, Dr. Martin says. Often, they require no treatment, but there are medications that can be safely used to treat an arrythmia during pregnancy, if necessary.
Mitral Valve Prolapse: This common condition occurs when the valve separating the upper and lower chambers of the heart does not close properly. "It can cause heart palpitations or it can be completely asymptomatic," Dr. Martin says. Rarely, it can cause an infection of the lining of the heart, abnormal heart rhythms, or, for severe mitral valve prolapse, congestive heart failure during pregnancy -- but these complications can be safety treated with medication during pregnancy.
High Blood Pressure: "As more and more women are delaying pregnancy until later in life, high blood pressure is one of the most common medical conditions managed in pregnancy," says Chad Klauser, M.D., perinatologist and clinical assistant professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. The greatest risk for pregnant patients who have high blood pressure is developing preeclampsia, but many of these women have uneventful pregnancies or preeclampsia that can be managed until the baby reaches a safe gestational age for delivery. Women contemplating pregnancy should review their current medications with their obstetrician to ensure that the antihypertensive agent they are on is safe to use during pregnancy, Dr. Klauser adds.
Conditions that require careful consultation before conceiving: 
Although these conditions may not be an impediment to pregnancy "they definitely require a consultation with a maternal fetal medicine expert and a cardiologist to determine if pregnancy is a good idea," Dr. Martin says.
Artificial Valves: "These can be a minor or major concern, depending on the kind of valve and where it is located," Dr. Martin says. Women with artificial valves are on blood-thinning medications, some of which are not recommended during pregnancy, but your doctor can help you switch to a safer medication.
Mitral Valve Stenosis: This rare condition occurs when the heart's mitral valve is narrowed and doesn't open properly; thus, blood flow is blocked from coming into your left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of your heart. A woman's pregnancy risk depends on how narrowed the valve is, her history with the condition, and what kind of treatment she's had in the past. "It is possible to have a safe pregnancy with proper care or with correction of a severe obstruction before conception," Dr. Martin confirms.
b>Cardiomyopathy: There are several types of this acquired condition (a woman is not born with it), which develops when the heart muscle is weakened for various reasons. There are also types of cardiomyopathy that can be genetic, but do not become clinically significant until teen years or young adulthood.
    • Dilated Cardiomyopathy: A very rare kind of heart failure that usually results from an infection and causes the heart to expand like an overstretched water balloon.
    • Peripartum Cardiomyopathy: Heart failure that develops during or within the first six months after pregnancy in 1 in 5,000 to 8,000 pregnant women. It can be managed during pregnancy with medications, but most women are advised not to get pregnant again.
    • Restrictive Cardiomyopathy: A condition that can develop in people who have chronic high blood pressure or are obese. The heart muscle has been working so hard for so many years that, like any muscle you work out, it becomes bigger and thicker, which can put women at risk for heart failure, especially during labor.


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