Heart disease poses a significant threat to both pregnant individuals and their babies, leading to adverse outcomes such as preterm birth, low birth weight, and even maternal mortality. Recognizing the risk factors associated with developing heart disease during pregnancy is crucial for timely intervention and preventive measures.
In an interview with Zee News English, Dr Mohit Tandon, Consultant Non Invasive Cardiologist, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Okhla –New-Delhi shares the risk factors of developing heart disease during pregnancy and overall prenatal health.
Common Heart Conditions That Can Occur During Pregnancy
It can affect both people who have a pre-existing heart condition and those who develop a new heart condition during pregnancy. Some of the common heart conditions that can occur during pregnancy are:
– High blood pressure or hypertension
– Gestational diabetes
– Preeclampsia or eclampsia
– Peripartum cardiomyopathy
– Congenital heart defects
– Heart valve problems
– Heart rhythm disorders
– Ischemic heart disease
– Pulmonary hypertension
Serious Complications That Can Occur During Pregnancy
These conditions can cause serious complications for the pregnant person and the baby, such as:
– Preterm birth or low birth weight
– Fetal growth restriction or intrauterine growth retardation
– Placental abnormalities like abruption or placenta previa.
– Stillbirth or neonatal death
– Heart failure or cardiogenic shock
– Stroke or cerebral hemorrhage
– Pulmonary edema or respiratory distress
– Kidney failure or renal impairment
– Liver failure or hepatic dysfunction
– Sepsis or infection
Risk Factors Of Developing A Heart Disease During Pregnancy
Therefore, it is important to identify and manage the risk factors of developing a heart disease during pregnancy. Some of the risk factors are:
– Age: Being older than 40 years increases the risk of having a pre-existing heart condition or developing a new one during pregnancy.
– Race or ethnicity: Being African American, American Indian, or Alaska Native increases the risk of having hypertension, preeclampsia, or peripartum cardiomyopathy during pregnancy.
– Weight or obesity: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of having gestational diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia, or ischemic heart disease during pregnancy.
– Smoking or alcohol: Smoking or drinking alcohol increases the risk of having congenital heart defects, heart valve problems, or ischemic heart disease during pregnancy.
– Drugs or opioids: Using drugs or opioids increases the risk of having heart rhythm disorders, pulmonary hypertension, or placental abruption during pregnancy.
– Physical activity or exercise: Having little or no physical activity or exercise increases the risk of having hypertension, gestational diabetes, or ischemic heart disease during pregnancy.
– Family history or genetics: Having a family history or a genetic predisposition to heart disease increases the risk of having congenital heart defects, heart valve problems, or cardiomyopathy during pregnancy.
– Medical history or comorbidities: Having a medical history or comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, or autoimmune disease increases the risk of having preeclampsia, eclampsia, or peripartum xcardiomyopathy during pregnancy.
The best way to prevent or reduce the risk of developing a heart disease during pregnancy is to have a healthy lifestyle and regular prenatal care. Some of the preventive measures are:
– Consult with your health care provider before planning a pregnancy if you have a pre-existing heart condition or a high-risk pregnancy.
– Monitor your blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight regularly during pregnancy and follow your health care provider’s advice on medication, diet, and exercise.
– Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, or taking any medication that is not prescribed by your health care provider during pregnancy.
– Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any symptoms of heart disease during pregnancy, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, swelling, headache, vision changes, nausea, or bleeding.