Should you be worrying about mitral valve prolapse and pregnancy?
Mitral valve prolapse and pregnancy can be a scary prospect, particularly when there are prolapse symptoms and problems like mitral regurgitation. Thus, there are normally safety concerns when contemplating pregnancy with MVP.
Can mitral valve prolapse affect pregnancy? How will it affect your child? Does mitral prolapse worsen after pregnancy? All common questions among women with the MVP condition. Fortunately, there usually isn’t much cause for concern.
Only a small percentage of women experience problems with a prolapsed mitral valve and mitral valve regurgitation. Nevertheless, no two women or pregnancies are exactly the same, and disorders involving the heart’s valves do increase the likelihood of problematic symptoms and complications. Therefore, it pays to be cautious when considering mitral valve prolapse and pregnancy.
Can mitral valve prolapse affect pregnancy?
Yes. Does mitral valve prolapse affect pregnancy? Not usually. Most women with a mitral prolapse tolerate pregnancy well. In fact, women with symptomatic MVP often find that their symptoms decrease in frequency and severity during pregnancy. Even women with severe mitral regurgitation can have a safe, successful pregnancy if there aren’t any other cardiovascular problems.
During pregnancy, various physiological changes occur in the body. Blood volume increases (by up to 50 percent), blood vessels dilate, and blood pressure drops. There is a decrease in systemic vascular resistance and an increase in cardiac output. These cardiovascular changes can improve MVP symptoms significantly and cause mitral valve regurgitation to decrease in severity.
That being said, not all women experience a problem-free pregnancy with mitral valve prolapse and regurgitation. MVP can affect pregnancy negatively, triggering or worsening symptoms. Heart palpitations, fatigue, and faintness are possible MVP pregnancy symptoms. With mitral regurgitation, complications such as heart failure, arrhythmias, and endocarditis can develop.
Can mitral valve prolapse get worse after pregnancy?
MVP can sometimes worsen after pregnancy. As a result of the strain that pregnancy places on the body, women with asymptomatic mitral prolapse may become symptomatic. Those who are symptomatic may experience an increase in the frequency and intensity of MVP symptoms after giving birth. This may occur with or without complications with mitral valve prolapse and pregnancy.
Most of the time, heart complications after pregnancy only develop with severe MVP and in those with a leaky mitral valve. In general, mitral valve prolapse with regurgitation and pregnancy increases the risk of problems. However, the majority of women do not experience health issues after pregnancy due to heart valve disease, and there are mitral valve treatment options for those who do.
When problems do ensue after pregnancy with (or without) MVP and regurgitation, it is normally in mothers aged 30 years or older, women who have had several pregnancies, and those who have carried more than one fetus. Women with ventricular dysfunction and pre-eclampsia (a serious pregnancy-induced disorder marked by high blood pressure) are also generally at higher risk.
What about mitral valve prolapse during labor?
Women with prolapsed mitral valves do not typically experience problems during labor. Still, it is advisable to see a heart specialist prior to pregnancy and get quality antenatal care. In cases of severe prolapse, significant mitral regurgitation, and/or left ventricular systolic dysfunction, one should plan labor and delivery carefully well in advance with a multidisciplinary medical team.
Healthcare professionals generally recommend vaginal childbirth when there is mitral valve prolapse and pregnancy ends. Pain is treated as necessary during labor, as are symptoms such as heart palpitations. If there is significant mitral regurgitation and poor heart function, or if MVP symptoms could potentially cause complications, doctors may administer an epidural injection.
Pushing during labor makes the heart work harder. An epidural lessens strain on the heart by reducing pain stress response and the urge to push. Since epidural anesthesia makes it difficult to push, vacuum extraction or forceps delivery may be required. Sometimes, a C-section is necessary. Doctors may administer antibiotics before delivery to women at high risk of infective endocarditis.
Will mitral valve prolapse affect your child?
Unless complications develop during pregnancy or during labor, MVP and mitral valve regurgitation should not endanger the fetus. However, heart valve disorders can affect the fetus, and women with a prolapsing mitral valve may be at higher risk of delivering babies prematurely, according to some studies. They may also be more likely to deliver babies with a low body weight.
In addition to the above, when it comes to delivery after mitral valve prolapse and pregnancy, women with a prolapsed mitral valve are more likely to have babies with a similar affliction. Is mitral valve prolapse hereditary? Yes, MVP has a strong hereditary tendency. The good news is that most children born with the prolapse condition do not experience MVP symptoms or complications.
Mitral valve prolapse in children rarely causes problems. As a matter of fact, many people go through life completely unaware that they have a prolapsed mitral valve. The MVP condition should be monitored, though. Parents should look out for mitral prolapse symptoms and ensure that the affected child gets regular medical checkups, as mitral valve disease can deteriorate over time.
What else should you about mitral valve prolapse and pregnancy?
For safety purposes (and because it should be fun), proper care before and during pregnancy with MVP is essential. Eating healthily is one way to reduce risks associated with pregnancy and mitral valve conditions. Actually, eliminating foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse can prevent symptoms and complications. It’s also important to get enough rest and avoid stressful situations.
Apart from the usual medications to avoid with a mitral prolapse, certain drugs commonly used to treat MVP and mitral regurgitation may not be safe during pregnancy. These include antiarrhythmics, ACE inhibitors and beta blockers, and aldosterone antagonist diuretics. Vasodilators and anticoagulants like warfarin with mitral valve prolapse and pregnancy may also be harmful in some cases.
The risk of mortality is high for mother and fetus with severe heart valve disorders and dysfunction. For this reason, healthcare professionals recommend that women with such conditions avoid pregnancy. In patients with mild MVP/heart valve disease and proper heart function, pregnancy is usually safe, but it should be overseen by obstetrician, a cardiologist, and an obstetric anesthesiologist.