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How Pregnancy Affects the Heart

Your heart beats 100,000 times a day and pumps 5,000 gallons of blood throughout your body every 24 hours – without any conscious effort from you. When you’re pregnant, your heart works even harder to accommodate you and your baby’s needs.

To ensure your heart remains strong enough to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your organs and tissues, visit our team of OB/GYN specialists at Raveco Medical in Forest Hills, Woodside, or Jackson Heights, New York. We provide insight into how your pregnancy impacts your heart and give you guidance on how to boost your heart’s health during pregnancy and beyond.

What to expect from your heart during pregnancy

Your body works in miraculous ways every day. When you’re expecting a baby, every system in your body kicks into overdrive to support the growth and development of your baby while still meeting your own needs.

When it comes to your heart, a pregnancy affects it in a variety of ways, such as:

Increases in blood output

Changes to your heart start early on in your pregnancy. By the time you reach eight weeks gestation, your heart increases its blood output by roughly 20%. As you progress through your pregnancy, your heart increases its production by 40%.

In order to accommodate the increased blood flow, your blood vessels must grow wider and stay soft and flexible to prevent complications. If you don’t have a healthy heart as you start your pregnancy journey, you may not be able to handle its boost in function, which can pose a risk to both you and your baby. 

Boost in blood volume

Your blood volume must increase during pregnancy to ensure your baby gets the nutrients it needs to grow healthy. It also lessens the impact that delivery can have on your body. Your body’s demand for iron raises red blood cell production to reduce the risk of blood loss complications you might experience during the delivery of your baby.

Risk increase for heart-related complications

Pregnancy places additional stress on your heart, causing you to develop heart-related complications during pregnancy. For example, preeclampsia is a common blood pressure-related disorder that affects pregnant women, causing elevated blood pressure that may damage your kidneys and liver.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is often considered a silent condition because damage can occur without any evident symptoms. To reduce you and your baby’s risk for preeclampsia complications, we recommend monitoring your blood pressure throughout your entire pregnancy.  

Aggravation of pre-existing heart conditions

The amount of additional stress a pregnancy can place on your heart can make existing heart conditions worse. With the consistent care our team offers, you can still have a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery despite existing heart issues.

We specialize in high-risk pregnancy care and can address issues, including high blood pressure, during comprehensive prenatal visits.

Answers to your questions

If you’re ready to conceive a baby but worry about existing heart issues, meet with our team at Raveco Medical to discuss your concerns.

We’re experienced obstetric specialists who work closely with you to prepare your body for a baby. Once you conceive, we continue to monitor your heart health and the growth of your baby through our high-risk pregnancy services.

Whether you’re ready to start a family or continue to have more children, give us a call at the Raveco Medical location most convenient to you today.

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