Heart disease in pregnant women can be a major threat to maternal safety and long-term cardiovascular health. In fact, 26.5% of pregnancy-related deaths in the United States are caused by cardiovascular disease and are now the leading cause of death in pregnant women as well as in the postpartum or postpartum period.
Therefore, it is very important to check the condition of the heart before, during, and after pregnancy so that disorders that occur can be detected as early as possible and get appropriate treatment. Early detection will also reduce the occurrence of complications due to heart disease in pregnant women.
Impact of pregnancy on heart health
During pregnancy, the risk of heart disease in the mother will increase. The reason is, during pregnancy there are changes in the body that can increase the pressure on the heart and circulatory system, including:
- Blood volume is increased by about 40% to feed the growing fetus.
- Cardiac output, which is the amount of blood pumped by the heart every minute, can increase by 30-50%.
- Heart rate can increase 10 to 20 beats per minute
The process of childbirth also increases the workload of the pregnant woman’s heart. Contractions and pushing during labor, especially during pushing, can cause sudden large changes in blood flow, blood pressure, heart rate, and cardiac output.
It will take several weeks after delivery for the pressure on the heart to return to pre-pregnancy levels.
The ability of the heart to tolerate the dramatic changes that occur in the cardiovascular system during pregnancy will depend on how good or bad the mother’s heart condition is.
If ignored, heart disease in pregnant women can cause various complications during pregnancy or even long term. At its worst, heart disease in pregnant women can cause death.
Impact of heart disease on pregnancy
At least, there are five types of heart disease that can develop in pregnant women. Each of these conditions can have an impact on the pregnancy and the fetus.
Heart disease in pregnant women to watch out for include:
Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM), also known as peripartum cardiomyopathy, is a heart failure condition that develops in the last month of pregnancy or within five months of giving birth. This is a rare condition and the cause is still unknown.
After pregnancy, the heart usually returns to its normal size and function. However, pregnant women with peripartum cardiomyopathy may still experience troubling symptoms. His left ventricular function also did not improve.
This condition increases the risk of complications during subsequent pregnancies, especially if the disease continues without improvement.
Hypertension during pregnancy
Hypertension or high blood pressure is also included in heart disease in pregnant women. This condition is known as gestational hypertension and can lead to preeclampsia, toxemia, or pregnancy toxemia.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as quoted from the American Hearts Association Journals, states that hypertension in pregnancy is classified into 4 categories, namely preeclampsia/eclampsia, gestational hypertension, chronic hypertension, and chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia.
Gestational hypertension is experienced by about 6-8% of pregnant women and is a condition that can harm both the mother and the fetus in the womb.
If pregnant women have high blood pressure, the obstetrician will give some special advice so that blood pressure does not increase so that the risk of pregnancy complications due to this condition can decrease.
Myocardial infarction or heart attack is one of the heart diseases that can occur in pregnant women. In severe conditions, myocardial infarction can cause death, but this condition is very rare.
A heart attack can occur during pregnancy or the first few weeks afterward. Heart attacks in pregnant women can be triggered by many things, including:
- The rupture of plaque in the coronary arteries or the occurrence of hardening of the arteries
- Spontaneous formation of blood clots in the coronary vessels.
- Coronary dissection, which is a weakening of the vessel wall that causes tearing and spontaneous clotting.
The increase in blood volume during pregnancy can sometimes cause a heart murmur, or an abnormal “swish” sound.
In most cases, heart disease in pregnant women is not dangerous. But in rarer cases it can signal a heart valve problem. If left untreated, heart valve problems can lead to heart failure and long-term complications in the mother.
The next heart disease in pregnant women is arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is a heart rhythm disorder that makes the heartbeat sound irregular. This condition often occurs during pregnancy.
If the mother is experiencing an arrhythmia for the first time during pregnancy, then this could be a sign of an unconscious heart condition.
Most arrhythmias are mild and do not require treatment. However, if you experience bothersome symptoms, still contact your doctor. The doctor can perform an examination and determine the cause of the arrhythmia.