Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular disease makes up 15.5% of all pregnancy related deaths. Blood volume increases from 30-50% during pregnancy which means the heart is doing more work. The heart works 2x more during pregnancy to circulate nourishment for the fetus. It is important to keep optimal cardiovascular health and be able to recognize alarming cardiovascular symptoms that can happen during pregnancy and birth.

Cardiovascular symptoms during pregnancy 

  • Due to the excess exhaustion that your heart is under it can cause several symptoms. Most of them are normal, however others can indicate an underlying condition. Talk with your doctor about anything that you are concerned about. Symptoms include:
    • Lightheadedness/fainting
    • Dyspnea
    • Severe or mild orthopnea
    • Palpitations that persist or worsen with exertion
    • Chest pain
    • Severe shortness of breath at rest

Risk factors  

  • There are several risk factors to be aware of that can cause heart disease or complications during pregnancy.
    • Over the age of 30 during pregnancy
    • Multiple pregnancies
    • History of preeclampsia or gestational diabetes in other pregnancies
    • Pre-existing heart disease: cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, endocarditis, arrhythmias and congenital heart disease
    • Substance abuse during pregnancy
    • Obesity, diabetes, or high blood pressure
    • Poor nutrition before or during pregnancy
    • Black women are statistically more at risk for cardiovascular disorders during pregnancy

Improve cardiovascular symptoms during pregnancy 

  • The heart goes through immense exertion during pregnancy. There are several factors that you can do to improve or maintain cardiovascular health during and after pregnancy:
    • Regular physical activity
    • Avoid alcohol, smoking, and any form of drug
    • Manage stress
    • Eat healthy