Heart changes during pregnancy
Normally, during pregnancy, a lot of physiological changes occur to many organs, including the heart and blood vessels. These changes help to nourish the baby with oxygen and nutrients. Within the circulatory system, changes such as increased heart rate, cardiac output, and blood volume, and decreased blood pressure occur. Generally, the blood volume increases from 40% to 50%. The blood volume increases much more when pregnant with CHF, which worsens the condition.
A woman with congestive heart failure who plans to get pregnant requires special care. Consulting with the family doctor, obstetrician, and cardiologist before conceiving and throughout pregnancy is crucial. Specialists prepare and provide the best advice to ensure a smooth process and optimal care for the mother and baby. Certain heart medications may affect the baby. However, cardiologists ensure to prescribe the safest one. If any doubts or concerns arise, addressing the issues to the relevant healthcare provider is essential.
Women who conceive while having a preexisting heart condition may pose a risk to the mother’s and baby’s health. A baby may be at risk of developing a heart condition, but this may vary individually. One study demonstrated fetal outcomes such as fetal and neonatal death, premature baby, respiratory distress syndrome, and intrauterine growth restriction. Regardless, the fetus’s growth and heart condition are monitored closely before, after, and during the delivery. In the mother’s case, preterm labor, arrhythmia, respiratory failure, and maternal death may occur.
Care for self and baby
Although multiple healthcare providers closely monitor the mother and baby, mothers can take the initiative by following some preventive measures. Some measures include attending prenatal appointments, resting, and avoiding harmful substances. Taking any prescribed medication as instructed is vital as an overdose or a missed dose may pose health risks. Monitoring weight and managing anxiety are necessary as well. Overall, with regular monitoring and treatment, delivery without complications is possible; however, this varies from case to case.