Pulmonary Hypertension and Pregnancy: What You Should Know
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a disease diagnosed when arteries responsible for carrying blood become thick, stiff and clogged. Normally, the arteries transport blood from the heart to the lungs, but in PH the vessel flow is hampered leading to abnormally high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries. But how is pulmonary hypertension diagnosed? Learn more about it here.
In severe cases, pulmonary hypertension can cause a total blockage of the pulmonary arteries and right heart failure, when the right ventricle loses its capacity to pump blood to the lungs. The disease can occur in people of all ages, races, and ethnicities, but it is more common among women, and often in younger female than male patients.
What about pulmonary hypertension and pregnancy? Is it safe to get pregnant while living with PH?
During pregnancy, women’s blood volume increases between 30 and 50 percent compared to its normal amount to nourish the baby. This increase in the amount of blood that needs to be pumped from the heart creates increased stress on the organ and circulatory system.
Every pregnant woman’s heart — even in women who are completely healthy — becomes overloaded with work during pregnancy and even more so during labor and delivery. In a patient who suffers from pulmonary hypertension and whose heart is already under stress, the risks are particularly high and could result in the death of the mother.
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