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How can pregnancy increase my risk for heart disease?

Kelly Anne Spratt, DO
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

During the nine months of gestation, women can develop preeclampsia (the development of high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy -- a leading cause of preterm births) and gestational diabetes. These may put them at a significantly increased risk of heart disease, even after delivery.

Pregnancy should not increase your risk for heart disease. However if you have an existing heart condition, pregnancy can make it worse. Pregnancy causes your heart to work harder, so you can supply blood to the baby. If you have existing heart failure or other conditions, this added stress on your heart can cause further problems. You may need to see a specialist during pregnancy to manage your condition.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.