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Pulmonary Hypertension

PH and pregnancy

04/22/2008

Question:

I was told by my cardiologist that I had PH and not to become pregnet because it might be fatal. Can you explain how something wrong with my lungs have any thing to do with being pregnet? I don`t understand the link.

Answer:

Pulmonary hypertension is a complex disease that affects the lungs and the heart. If you have significant pulmonary hypertension, then you can develop a form of heart failure as a result. Normal pregnancy places large demands on the heart and lungs of healthy women and if you have a serious heart or lung problem, these demands can exceed what your body is capable of.

In women with pulmonary hypertension, pregnancy frequently causes heart failure and extreme difficulty with breathing and sometimes it can result in death. There are other problems related to pregnancy including the need to stop warfarin (coumadin) if you are on it and additionally, some of the medications used to treat pulmonary hypertension can damage the baby. We recommend strongly that women with pulmonary hypertension do not become pregnant.

For more information:

Go to the Pulmonary Hypertension health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Douglas W Haden, MD Douglas W Haden, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University