pregnancy (in women with grown up congenital heart disease)

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  • most women with congenital abnormalities of the heart can have successful pregnancies; also most pregnant patients with simple congenital heart disease, whether operated on or not, are safely delivered in local obstetric units
  • however there are certain conditions that may be adversely by the changes in pregnancy so that some mothers are 'at risk' of complications, and these can effect their babies
    • overall, there is a higher incidence of fetal and neonatal adverse events—including intrauterine growth restriction, premature birth, intracranial haemorrhage, and fetal loss—in women with congenital heart disease compared with the general population
    • risk is highest in women with poor functional class, cyanosis, and left heart obstruction to flow (which restricts cardiac output and thus flow to the placenta) and is amplified by any other obstetric risk factors
  • risk of congenital heart disease in offspring
    • with respect to pregnant women with congenital heart disease, the risk of their fetus having structural cardiac defects varies between about 3% and 12% (this compares to a background risk of 0.8% for the general population) (1)


  1. Uebing A et al. Pregnancy and congenital heart disease. BMJ 2006; 332:401-6.

Last reviewed 01/2018