Do you know about rheumatic heart disease? Did you know that as a pregnant woman, you are among the high-risk group for the disease? Well, if you were looking for information on rheumatic heart disease in pregnancy, you landed on the right page. Read the post and find out all you need to know about rheumatic heart disease during pregnancy.
Despite recent advancements in science and medicine, heart disease remains a major cause of thousands of deaths all around the globe. Individuals suffering from heart disease need extra care. You might wonder, how does a heart disease relate to pregnancy, or what impact does pregnancy have on existing heart conditions? Read on and find out.
What Is Rheumatic Heart Disease?
Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a condition that develops when the streptococcus bacterium leads to an infection, known as acute rheumatic fever. The condition damages the valves of the heart, the linings of the heart muscle, etc (1).
Cardiovascular conditions tend to complicate nearly 4% of pregnancies making it essential that you take the necessary measures (2).
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So, how does rheumatic heart disease affect pregnancy? Rheumatic heart disease and many other heart conditions tend to have a significant impact on the health of both- you and the little angel in your belly. RHD can lead to complications such as maternal death, preterm delivery, pregnancy-induced hypertension, gestational diabetes and low birth weight.
Studies do not note any prenatal deaths or congenital abnormalities in the case of cardiovascular complaints during pregnancy (3).
[ Read: Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes ]
Effect Of Pregnancy On Rheumatic Heart Disease:
Now that we know how rheumatic heart disease complicates pregnancy let’s look at how pregnancy can complicate RHD.
Normal pregnancy worsens any pre-existing cardiovascular condition. Ideally, women with RHD should go for a medical checkup before the onset of pregnancy, especially if the symptoms are already prevalent (4).
The effect of pregnancy on rheumatic heart disease differs from individual to individual and also upon the condition. In some cases, the symptoms of the condition may reduce in intensity during pregnancy, which may cut down the need of medications and drugs, but may flare up again post delivery.
Women who suffer from mitral regurgitation due to rheumatic heart disease may develop symptoms of heart failure during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. You can consider using diuretics and other medications to alleviate the symptoms. However, check with your doctor whether the medications are safe to use during pregnancy.
Tips On Managing RHD During Pregnancy:
Rheumatic heart disease is responsible for most cases of mortality during pregnancy, as it goes under the radar and isn’t detectable until too late. If you are prone to or have rheumatic heart disease, you might want to follow some tips to stay safe during pregnancy.
- Early assessment of risk and regular monitoring helps reduce several risks during pregnancy.
- Early diagnosis also helps potential moms get a better idea of how the condition can affect pregnancy.
- Plan your delivery ahead to overcome any complications of rheumatic heart disease.
- Use pregnancy-safe medications only.
- Get multidisciplinary preconception from many experts to understand how it can help you have a safe and healthy delivery.
- Get support from obstetricians, cardiologists and midwives if needed.
Getting a prenatal checkup is the best way to know more about rheumatic heart disease and pregnancy. The information will help you manage the symptoms of rheumatic heart disease easily (5).
We hope this article helped you understand more about rheumatic heart disease in pregnancy and its impacts. Did these tips help you? Do let us know in the comments box below.
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