Physician InformationPatient Information

Mitral Stenosis


Issues for the mother

Which contraceptive methods are safe?

For most women with mitral stenosis, the choice of birth control (medical term: contraceptives) is not limited by their heart disease. (see Contraception) In women with abnormal heart rhythms (medical term: arrhythmias) or prior strokes, estrogen-containing birth control pills and patches may be a problem because they may contribute to the formation of blood clots. Contraceptive selection should be discussed with a doctor who has an understanding of your underlying heart condition.

What are my risks if I become pregnant?

In order to determine your risks during pregnancy, you should see your heart specialist before getting pregnant. You may need additional heart tests such as an ultrasound of the heart (medical term: echocardiogram) to better determine the risks of pregnancy.

All women with mitral stenosis are at risk of heart problems during pregnancy. In women with severe mitral stenosis, the risk of heart problems during pregnancy is highest. Women can develop heart rhythm problems (medical term: arrhythmias), heart failure or strokes. If you had heart failure, rhythm problems or a stroke before pregnancy, your risk for complications during pregnancy is higher. Other cardiac characteristics can have an impact on pregnancy outcomes (see General Considerations). It is very important to see a heart specialist before pregnancy to discuss your risk of pregnancy.

Some medications are not safe in pregnancy. Do not stop medications without first checking with your doctor, but do check your medications out before pregnancy so you will have a plan. If you did not do that, then do so as soon as you know you are pregnant. The MOTHERISK website is an excellent resource.


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