Risks Associated with Pulmonary Hypertension in Pregnancy

Pulmonary hypertension is a serious type of condition in which the blood vessels in lungs and right ventricle of the heart are affected by high blood pressure. In some cases, this condition can get more worse. This rare condition can affect young fertile women as well.

Signs of pulmonary hypertension

Some of the signs that indicate this condition include-

  • Difficulty in breathing, which you may notice first while doing physical activity and later even when resting
  • Exhaustion
  • Heart palpitations
  • Pressure in the chest area
  • Swelling of legs and around ankles
  • Fainting or feeling dizzy
  • Skin and lips turning blue

Pulmonary hypertension in pregnancy is considered very dangerous as it carries a high risk of mortality. In pregnancy, a woman undergoes many physiological changes which are considered normal. But, if a woman has a pre-existing condition of pulmonary hypertension, it can become highly difficult for her body to tolerate these changes. The arteries of the women affected with pulmonary hypertension may be damaged, requiring the heart to put in extra effort to pump blood. This pressure further increases in this condition and it can lead to heart failure.

How it affects?

When a normal woman is pregnant, there is an increase in cardiac output which is accompanied by a reduction in pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR). In case of pregnancy with pulmonary hypertension, there is no decline in PVR, but to achieve an increase in cardiac output, extra pressure is applied on the artery. This results in failure of right side of the heart as the necessary output is not possible to achieve. This in turn puts pressure on the left ventricle of the heart. The resultant cardiac output becomes more compromised and this can be fatal.

Labor and delivery phase further increase the risk of complications because of loss of blood, contractions, increased PVR and other changes. Women diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension are advised against going ahead with pregnancy as it is life-threatening. In case if this condition is found in the early pregnancy stage, termination advised by the doctors, otherwise it is classified as high risk pregnancy.

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