A woman’s body goes through several changes during pregnancy. This is also a time when her heart is working extra-hard to circulate blood for two people instead of one. That’s why, it becomes even more necessary to take care of your heart during pregnancy.
A cardiologist is rarely involved in the pregnancy process. Most women who are active and healthy before they become pregnant, do not suffer from any major problem when they’re carrying. However, those who have heart conditions can face several issues due to the increased workload of their heart during pregnancy.
Pregnancy and Heart Health
The first step for protecting your heart health should ideally start before you become pregnant. If you are thinking about having a baby and have any of these conditions, talk to your doctor or a cardiologist about any precautions that you should take before getting pregnant:
- If you have a medical history of a heart condition, such as a heart murmur, valve disease, rheumatic fever, or heart rhythm disorder
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- History of a cardiac event, such as a stroke
If you’re a healthy person, take the following steps to keep your heart healthy:
- Exercise: Exercising helps reduce stress during pregnancy and helps you maintain a healthy weight. It is highly beneficial to your cardiac health. If you’re used to exercising, stay at your previous level of intensity unless your doctor advices you against it. If you haven’t been exercising before pregnancy, try some low-impact exercises such as walking, riding a stationary bike or taking exercise classes for pregnant women.
- Eat a healthy diet: When you’re pregnant, try to include a heart-healthy diet that are safe for pregnant women. Some foods that were okay and heart-healthy before, such as sprouts and salads, should be avoided or limited during pregnancy. It is also important to lower your sodium intake as sodium can increase blood pressure. You should also be careful with your choice of fishes and avoid those that are high in mercury.
Keeping food and exercise choices simple and healthy can be extremely rewarding for your heart and overall well-being.
Women with existing heart conditions
Women who have an underlying heart condition or congenital heart problems may face complications while pregnant. Those with blood pressure can use pregnancy-safe medications to lower it. For women with high-risk, cardiologist advice against pregnancy as it poses too much risk.
Women who suffered complications during their pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes, pre-term delivery, or low birth weight, the risk of having some sort of heart or vascular issue increases in the years after the pregnancy. This may also increase the risk of complications with subsequent pregnancies.
Regardless of the heart condition or complications, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle before, during and after your pregnancy to reduce your risk. If you have any concerns about your overall health, our doctors at KIMS Cuddles can help you take necessary steps for a successful pregnancy.
*Information shared here is for general purpose Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.