Pregnancy & Echocardiography For Patients
Pregnancy & Echocardiography
Pregnant women with pre-existing heart health concerns require more diagnostic testing and monitoring. Your physician is the health professional qualified to answer questions regarding you and your baby’s health.
How Does Pregnancy Affect the Heart?
A typical pregnant mother’s blood volume increases by 30-40% to nourish the growing baby. The heart pumps more blood each minute, the heart rate may increase, and your heart has to work a little harder than normal.
Tips to Maintain a Healthy Heart During Pregnancy
The number one thing to remember during your pregnancy is that taking care of yourself is the best way to take care of your baby.
– Keep your prenatal appointments. Make sure you are visiting your physician regularly throughout your pregnancy to ensure the health of you and your baby.
– Keep track of how much weight you gain or lose. Your physician will monitor your weight to ensure the loss or gain is appropriate for your baby.
– Take your prescription medicine. If your physician prescribes you medication to manage your health, make sure to take it regularly.
– Progress. Ask your physician questions about your progress, what to expect during labour and delivery, and any questions that will help put your mind at ease.
Diagnostic Testing During Pregnancy – What to Expect
If you have a pre-existing heart condition of any type, there are diagnostic cardiac tests that can be safely performed during pregnancy. One of these is an echocardiogram, which is a simple, safe and non-invasive procedure used to assess if someone has heart disease. . Echocardiograms measure the direction and speed of the blood flow and asses overall cardiac function. Echocardiograms have no known side effects or risks. An ECG may be combined with echocardiography. These tests may be performed multiple times throughout the pregnancy to update your physician on your cardiac health.
If you are currently pregnant or preparing for pregnancy and have a heart condition, talk to your cardiologist and obstetrician about the monitoring required.
Want more information on echocardiograms? Check out What is an Echo?.