World Heart Day 2019: Signs and symptoms of heart disease during pregnancy
World Heart Day Special: Heart Disorders in Pregnancy Signs: During pregnancy, a woman's blood volume typically rises from 30 – 50 per cent in order to provide nourishment for the growing foetus. However, as blood volume rises, so does the extent of work the heart performs.
By Dr Sushma Tomar
Heart conditions in pregnancy symptoms: Pregnancy can sometimes take a toll on women’s heart and circulatory system, which can be a serious risk, not only for unborn child but also cause serious long-term complications for the mother. Pregnant women are susceptible to many medical conditions that can threaten their own and their child’s life.
During pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume typically rises from 30 – 50 per cent in order to provide nourishment for the growing foetus. However, as blood volume rises, so does the extent of work the heart performs. A pregnant woman’s heart has to work at twice the capacity to circulate the increased volume of blood throughout her body and the foetus as well. Even fit mothers can experience heart related complications during pregnancy. Delivery phase and labour can also cause serious stress to the heart as the body’s blood pressure and flow are drastically impacted. After the birth of the baby, the heart muscles can also be stressed as blood flow and pressure suddenly decreases.
Factors that are responsible for heart disease among mothers-to-be:
· Advanced age of childbirth
· History of heart failure
· Excessive weight gain and multiple pregnancies
· High blood pressure
Signs & symptoms to watch for in late pregnancy, and up to five months post-delivery:
· Chest pain
· Increased heart rate
· Extreme swelling
· Persistent cough
· Temporary loss of consciousness
· Fainting or feeling dizzy
How should one prepare for pregnancy?
Before you begin with family planning, consult a cardiologist and a gynecologist for thorough evaluation. This is extremely crucial especially if you have a history of heart disease or other comorbidities that could impact the pregnancy. The medical team will work together to help you plan better and explain the risks, especially if yours would be a high-risk pregnancy. If you have a heart condition, your medications might be altered during the course of your pregnancy. You must ensure that you consult your doctor every month throughout your pregnancy. Screening plays an important role in such pregnancies.
Also Read| ‘Fathers-to-be who smoke can increase risk of congenital heart defects in babies’
(The writer is Infertility Specialist & Endoscopic Surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan.)
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