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Pregnancy and Your Heart – Risk of Disease.

June 13, 2020

It’s a special time in any woman’s life. One of the last things on her mind is her risk of heart disease. in pregnancy.

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.

What Happens to Your Heart When You Are 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 woman who’s not pregnant.

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 Affect 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.

Learning Your Risk of Heart Disease

We can use our heart risk evaluation tool designed especially for women to check your possible risk of heart disease. 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 healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality healthcare. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly

Our post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. You are in no way obligated to use these links. Thank you for being so supportive!

Image Credits: Canva

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