A majority of women born with heart defects can safely get pregnant and give birth to babies who will only experience minor complications, according to new data published in the European Heart Journal. The key is simple, the researchers say: seek high-quality medical care.
The study authors evaluated a large German database, focusing on pregnancies in women with congenital heart disease (CHD) from 2005 and 2018.
The study, the largest to examine the subject, included 7,512 pregnancies and 4,015 mothers.
No women included in the analysis died, but there were even more health complications for mothers and babies compared to those in a control group without coronary heart disease.
The authors found that there was a minor but high risk of stillbirth or death of babies in the first month of life in people born to mothers with coronary heart disease.
In addition, these children had a six times higher risk of coronary heart disease compared to the control group.
“The most important finding from our study is that many women born with a congenital heart defect are able to navigate pregnancy and give birth safely,” said first author Astrid Lammers, MD, of the University Hospital. Münster German, in a report prepared declaration. “This is important because just a few decades ago many women would not even have reached adulthood themselves. It is very encouraging to see that so many mothers with congenital heart defects can give birth to healthy children.
In the statement, Lammers stressed that due to advances in neonatal support and techniques, most minor problems that arise can be treated with medical support, “albeit with surgery and prolonged hospitalization.”
Although no woman in the CHD group died during pregnancy and for up to 90 days after childbirth, a woman in the non-CHD group has been reported to have died.