Pregnant women with heart disease are recommended to give birth no later than 40 weeks of pregnancy. "After 40 weeks, pregnancy has no extra benefit for the baby and can even have negative effects," says lead researcher Jolien Roos-Hesselink.
"Pregnancy is a risky period for women with heart disease because it puts extra stress on the heart, so advise the guidelines to induce labor or caesarean after 40 weeks," added Hesselink.
Heart disease is the main reason why women die in many Western countries during pregnancy. In comparison with healthy pregnant women, people with heart disease have a 100 times greater risk of death or heart failure.
Most women with heart disease have a healthy pregnancy, but researchers advise that they should be aware that they are at a higher risk of obstetric complications, including premature delivery, preeclampsia and postpartum bleeding.
An estimated 18-30% of offspring have complications and up to 4% of newborns die due to such complications.
Researchers have recommended time and time again that in vitro fertilization (IVF) is not intended for a pregnant woman with heart disease, because high doses of hormones are often used in this process, which increases the risk of thrombosis and heart failure.
Carrying more than one baby also places more emphasis on the heart; therefore, women with heart disease who undergo IVF are strongly advised to transfer one embryo. Furthermore, women with congenital heart disease, for example pulmonary arterial hypertension, severely dilated aorta, or a greatly reduced ability of the heart to pump blood, need contraception advice to prevent unplanned pregnancy.
"When pharmaceutical companies have no data on whether a drug is safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, they tend to say that it is not recommended, and it might be appropriate to give a seriously ill woman a drug no harmful side effects have been noted in the databases mentioned in the guidelines, "said another researcher Vera Regitz-Zagrosek.
Therefore, a delivery plan should be drawn up within 20-30 weeks, indicating vaginal or caesarean delivery for pregnant women suffering from such diseases.
"The delivery plan must be available 24 hours a day, so that when a pregnant woman with a heart condition arrives at the hospital, the hospital staff know exactly what to do," adds Hesselink.
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Published: August 26, 2018, 13:52