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Pregnancy and Your Heart – Risk of disease.

June 13, 2020

When a woman is pregnant, one of the last things on her mind is the risk of heart disease.

Pregnant Couple embracing

But we should be speaking more about it.

Heart Disease is reportedly the leading cause of death related to pregnancy in lower-middle-income countries.

Some women are having babies at an older age when they may have already developed heart problems/or a higher risk of heart disease.

But apart from this, women could develop heart problems during their pregnancy.

Pregnancy has sometimes been referred to as ‘a stress test for the body’: It could then cause severe complications for a woman who has pre-existing heart disease.

Some Effects on the Heart When Pregnant

Pregnancy stresses the heart (and circulation)

•When pregnant, your blood volume increases by up to 50% to cope with both mum and baby

•This means the heart is doing MORE work to pump blood around the mum’s body and into the baby through the placenta.

So the woman’s heart beats faster – which is the body’s way of accommodating the pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the risk of forming blood clots inside deep blood vessels is increased by 10 times compared to a no pregnant woman.

The blood clots can block blood flow in the vessels to different organs causing serious life-threatening illnesses like Pulmonary Embolism, or Stroke.

During labour/delivery, the heart works harder, also affecting the heart rate and blood pressure.

Heart Conditions That Could Affect Your Pregnancy

Nearly every heart condition can develop in or following a woman’s pregnancy.

  • Problems that can affect a pregnant woman associated with Heart Disease:
    • High Blood Pressure
    • High Blood Cholesterol
    • Heart Attacks
    • Abnormal Heart Rhythm
    • Problem with Heart Valves
    • Problem with Heart Muscles
    • Blood Vessel Disease including Blood Clots

Recent research suggests that having Diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy as well as early delivery of the baby have been linked to increased risk of heart conditions years later.

Heart Disease – What’s Your Risk?

We can use our heart risk evaluation tool designed especially for women to check your possible risk of heart disease. Contact us here to learn more about it.

Another medical condition that could affect your health in pregnancy is ectopic pregnancy – read more about symptoms and treatment.

More Reading

Editing by AskAwayHealth Team


All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly

Image Credits: Canva

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