Most people associate heart disease with the elderly, but many women of child-bearing age can be afflicted with heart conditions. Without careful medical consideration, these conditions can be problematic during pregnancy.
While many heart conditions – such as pregnancy-induced hypertension or peripartum cardiomyopathy – can develop as a result of pregnancy, women with preexisting heart conditions need to take special care if they become or plan to become pregnant. Changes to the body may aggravate medical conditions, and interventional cardiology Panama City FL treatment can help ensure a healthy pregnancy.
New Changes to the Body
During pregnancy, blood flow around the body greatly increases – putting added stress on the heart and blood vessels. Blood volume increases by up to 50 percent, and the actual amount of blood pumped by the heart (or cardiac output) increases by up to 40 percent. Heart rate also increases by 10-15 beats per minute. This means that the heart is working much harder than it did before.
These changes to the heart are part of what causes fatigue during pregnancy (the body is using more energy than usual), and many women will experience light-headedness and shortness of breath. While these symptoms are normal, the added stress to the heart can prove problematic for women with preexisting heart conditions.
Preexisting Heart Conditions – Planning for a Pregnancy
Women with a heart condition like hypertension (high blood pressure), arrhythmia, heart murmur, aorta disease, cardiomyopathy, rheumatic fever, narrowing of the heart valves or blood vessels, or a previous cardiac even such as a heart attack or stroke should see a cardiologist before planning their pregnancy. Cardiac surgery in Panama City center Cardiovascular Institute of Northwest Florida specializes in non-invasive and invasive cardiology, making their practice well-prepared to treat any woman with heart concerns related to her pregnancy.
A cardiologist will be able to examine you and discuss your heart function and whether it is safe for you to become pregnant. Your cardiologist can also prescribe medication and treatment regimens for you to follow during your pregnancy as well as explain how to react if your condition begins to affect your health. You may also need to adjust your medication while you are pregnant or breast feeding, and your cardiology specialist can recommend a safe dose.
It’s important for your health and the health of your child to discuss becoming pregnant with your cardiologist. Under the safe care of a doctor and with interventional cardiology, most women with preexisting heart conditions can safely carry a pregnancy to term.