Heart Disease and Pregnancy

Heart Disease and Pregnancy

Managing heart disease during pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman with heart disease faces a special challenge: Because the heart must work harder—pumping 2 to 3 times more blood to nourish a growing child—the extra strain can cause even a mild heart condition to become severe or life-threatening for both mother and child.

To ensure a safe journey, Virtua has put together a special high-risk cardiac team to closely monitor a woman throughout pregnancy and for first 6 weeks after birth. They include a maternal-fetal medicine physician—a specialist in high-risk pregnancy care—a cardiologist and an anesthesiologist.

During every month of pregnancy, a woman meets with all 3 specialists at one visit. Any problems that may arise are handled quickly and efficiently. Ongoing communication with a woman’s obstetrician is also an important part of this care.

More frequent testing throughout pregnancy provides physicians with real-time data on the baby's health and to ensure that the woman’s heart is working properly. The team uses technology that includes echocardiograms, which use sound waves to create images of the heart, electrocardiograms that measure the heart’s electrical activity and ultrasounds to monitor the baby's development.

High-risk cardiac issues

The nature and severity of a heart condition determines the risk. Some conditions require treatment or surgery before conception. In rare instances, a heart condition may require that a woman avoid pregnancy completely. Conditions that require special care are:

  • Congenital heart defects (those present at birth)
  • Prior diagnosis of any heart or blood vessel diseases including arrhythmia, heart murmur, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, Marfan syndrome or rheumatic fever
  • Prior cardiac event such as a heart attack
  • Severe narrowing of the mitral or aortic valve

Virtua's expert team, diagnostic tools and well-planned delivery strategies help manage issues that, just a few years ago, may have overwhelmed a pregnant heart.

Are you pregnant, or considering pregnancy, and have a heart condition?  

Ask your obstetrician, cardiologist or family doctor for a referral to Virtua's high-risk pregnancy and heart care team.

The team sees patients at these locations:

Specialties

your High-Risk Pregnancy and Heart Care Team

Meet Dr. Shailen Shah, Virtua's Maternal Fetal Medicine group

Meet Dr. Shailen Shah

Meet Dr. Shailen Shah from Virtua's Maternal Fetal Medicine group.

Meet Dr. Singer

Meet Cardiologist Dr. Robert Singer

Dr. Robert Singer is the chief of cardiology and medical director of the non-invasive cardiology lab at Virtua South.

Dr. Maria Duca, a cardiologist with Virtua

Meet Dr. Maria Duca

Get to know Dr. Maria Duca, a cardiologist with Virtua.

navigator access center

Contact Virtua

A Personal Health Navigator can help you find a doctor, schedule appointments or classes, and help you find a service or location.

1-888-VIRTUA-31-888-VIRTUA-3 Live Chat

You May also like

High-Risk Pregnancy Care from Virtua Maternity

High-Risk Pregnancy Care

Virtua’s maternal-fetal medicine doctors care for pregnant women who are high risk because of chronic disease, multiples, being over age 35 at conception, or who have a family history of genetic disorders.

managing pregnancy for mothers with heart conditions

Managing Pregnancy for Mothers With Heart Conditions

Discover how today's advances in maternal-fetal medicine make it possible for women with heart conditions to have healthy pregnancies.

Virtua Baby Maternity Services

Virtua Baby

VirtuaBaby provides an essential guide for pregnant women with trusted information you'll need for a healthy pregnancy.

Benefits of 3D Ultrasound

Benefits of 3D Ultrasound

Dr. Shailen Shah of Virtua's Maternal Fetal Medicine group explains the benefits of 3D ultrasound.