Women with Heart Defects Might Have a Higher Risk of Pregnancy-Related Health Issues
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that many women with congenital heart defects become pregnant and experience pregnancy-related health complications. Women living with heart defects who are considering having a baby should talk with a healthcare provider before becoming pregnant to discuss how their pregnancy might affect them and their baby.
- Based on information for more than 26,000 women living with heart defects in three areas in the United States, nearly 1 in 5 of these women became pregnant over approximately 3 years.
- Compared to women without heart defects, women with heart defects may have a higher risk for some pregnancy-related issues, such as
- Anemia (when the number of healthy red blood cells in the body is too low);
- Hemorrhage (loss of blood); or
- High blood pressure.
- Compared to non-pregnant women with heart defects, pregnant women with heart defects had more documented health issues, such as
- With appropriate medical care and treatment, many women with heart defects can have a healthy pregnancy. Women living with heart defects who are considering having a baby should talk with a healthcare provider before becoming pregnant to discuss how their pregnancy might affect them and their baby.
About This Study
- This is one of the first projects to look at pregnancies and both pregnancy-related and non-pregnancy-related health conditions among women with heart defects by collecting information from hospital, clinic, and health insurance records.
- Scientists reviewed data from women (ages 11–50 years) living in certain counties in Georgia and New York and statewide in Massachusetts between 2008 and 2010.
- Data were from women who had a heart defect noted in their medical record between 2008 and 2010.
About Heart Defects
Congenital heart defects are conditions that are present at birth that can affect the structure of a person’s heart and its ability to work properly. Heart defects can vary from mild (such as a small hole in the heart) to severe (such as missing or poorly formed parts of the heart). Lifelong cardiac care can help people with heart defects live as healthy a life as possible!
CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) is tracking the number of people living with heart defects to learn about their long-term health, medical costs, and quality of life. This information can help identify opportunities to support the health and wellness of all people living with heart defects.
- Basics About Congenital Heart Defects
- Living with a Congenital Heart Defect
- Highlighted Birth Defects Content
Raskind-Hood C, Saraf A, Riehle-Colarusso T, Glidewell J, Gurvitz M, Dunn JE, Lui GK, Van Zutphen A, McGarry C, Hogue CJ, Hoffman T. Assessing pregnancy, gestational complications, and co-morbidities in women with congenital heart defects (data from ICD-9-CM codes in 3 US surveillance sites). The American Journal of Cardiology. 2020; 125 (5): 812-819.