Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Heart Valve Disease and Pregnancy
Women who have a heart valve disease and want to become pregnant have some special
considerations. A valve disease may increase the risk
to the mother and the developing baby (fetus). Treatment of a valve disease might have to change during a pregnancy.
How much a heart valve disease increases risks during pregnancy depends on the type of valve disease and how bad it is.
If you have a heart valve disease and are considering pregnancy, talk with your doctors. You can get more
information about your individual risk factors and treatment needs before and after pregnancy.
Heart valve problems that may increase the risk of problems during pregnancy include:
If you have a mild or moderate form of valve disease, and if your heart is pumping blood normally, you can likely have a normal pregnancy with careful medical supervision. Simple practices such as getting plenty of bed rest and avoiding
lying on your back can play important roles in successfully managing your
pregnancy. You might also take medicines during pregnancy.
If you have more severe valve disease, you have a higher risk of problems during pregnancy. Your doctors may suggest that you consider surgery before you get pregnant. This might include a procedure to widen the valve or surgery to repair or replace the valve.
You already have a replaced valve, and you take warfarin. Talk with your doctor if you plan on getting pregnant. You likely will not take warfarin if you are trying to get pregnant, because it can cause miscarriage or birth defects. You and your doctor will decide what blood thinner you will take while you are trying to get pregnant. You might take heparin during your pregnancy.
You are thinking about having a heart valve replaced before you get pregnant. You will have a choice of the type of heart valve you will get. The heart valve type you choose may depend on whether you plan to get pregnant in the future.
Treatments for a valve problem during pregnancy depend on the type of valve problem and how bad it is.
Medicine choices might include medicines that flush excess fluid out of the body
(diuretics) and medicines to relax and expand the blood vessels.
A procedure that widens a heart valve might be done during pregnancy if the woman develops symptoms. This procedure, called a balloon valvuloplasty or valvotomy, is done for diseases that cause a heart valve to narrow (aortic valve stenosis and mitral valve stenosis). After the woman delivers, she may then have valve repair or replacement surgery.
Other Works Consulted
Nishimura RA, et al. (2014). 2014 AHA/ACC guideline for the management of patients with valvular heart disease: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation, published online March 3, 2014. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000031. Accessed May 1, 2014.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, ElectrophysiologyMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerDavid C. Stuesse, MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
Current as ofJanuary 27, 2016
Current as of:
January 27, 2016
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & David C. Stuesse, MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.