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Women With Heart Disease - High-Risk Pregnancies

Collaborative Pregnancy Care for Women with Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Pregnancy carries a risk for all women, but for women with congenital heart disease, it poses an increased risk for both the mother and the fetus. Depending on the exact cardiovascular defects, the level of risk can vary.

In the past, women with complex congenital heart disease were often told they should not get pregnant due to the potential risks. But today, most women with congenital heart disease can safely carry and deliver a healthy baby, as long as she is carefully monitored by a cardiology team that is trained and experienced in following the recommended guidelines.

Recent guidelines released by the American Heart Association recommend that women with complex congenital heart disease undergo pre-pregnancy counseling. If a woman becomes pregnant, her care team should develop a delivery plan and she should be carefully monitored following delivery as well.

The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program team works closely with the specially trained maternal fetal medicine experts at University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital to reduce risks and help ensure a safe pregnancy and healthy outcomes for both mother and baby. Our multidisciplinary team provides women with expert obstetric care from specialists who understand the complex connection between pregnancy and congenital heart conditions.

Expert High-Risk Obstetric Care

Our physicians know that taking good care of your own health is the best way to ensure the well-being of your baby. Pregnancy in women with adult congenital heart disease can increase the risks of:

  • Birth defects
  • Low birth weight
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Stillbirth

Our team is introduced when a woman is first considering pregnancy with pre-conception planning and follows the mother and baby throughout the pregnancy, helping to plan the induction of labor and delivery to ensure experienced team members are available at the time of delivery. A fetal care nurse navigator is available to assist families through every step of prenatal care to the baby’s delivery. This takes a multifaceted team of highly specialized physicians, including:

  • Adult congenital cardiologist
  • Cardiac anesthesiologist
  • High-risk newborn doctor (neonatologist)
  • High-risk obstetrician
  • Primary care physician
  • Fetal care nurse navigator