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Thread: Heart conditions and trying to get pregnant

  1. #1
    New Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Question Heart conditions and trying to get pregnant

    Hello everyone =]

    I just wanted to get some help and opinions on a life changing problem i have reached in my life.

    I just turned 23 years old, in a loving committed and wonderful relationship, great family life, living in a cute little flat, working full time in a fantastic company which are so supportive in every single way (like a second family really) so basically my life on the outside is perfect (well i think so anyways)

    The issue i am facing is my health - long story short i have had a rough last 10 years of my life health wise. Was terribly ill at the age of 10-13 and basically stopped growing, loss of breath, circulation, slept about 16 hours a day in and out of school because i just couldn't manage anything, used to get exhausted after walking from my bed (after sleeping all night) to the TV room i would go back to sleep for 3 or 4 hours. after allot of GP and doctors of that sort not knowing what was going i eventually caught glandular fever and that was the end of my childhood i had 3 month of school and by December of that year i was in hospital having open heart surgery. I don't remember much of what was wrong as i was a very ill and depressed person at that state but from what i know the surgery was mitral valve repair and my valve had been ripped or torn in a few places and worn out and was leaking blood so that was the first surgery at 13.

    I was told the valves would need to be replaced if i was to ever have children and would have to be done before the age of 21.. about 2 years later i had a mishap where my sister found me passed out (heart gave out in some way once again i am so unclear because most of my childhood is a blur of medical mumbojumbo and depression) and i then had a pacemaker/defib surgery to have for the rest of my life. At the age of 20 i was going strong had no new hiccups and heart was plotting along as best that it could and i then had to to have complete jaw reconstruction top and bottom to correct the bone grown from when i was younger.

    this past year it has been playing on my mind allot about where to go next. i have had many appt with many different doctors so far this is what i have been told

    -my heart doctor who has known me since i was 14 years old/ knows my heart condition like the back of his hand says "no kids until after the surgery" which might not be for another 10 years or more as they wont do the surgery until my heart weakens.

    - a heart surgeon/ my second professional opinion (which i hated) has said either way i go is fine but if i have the next heart surgery i would need to inject myself and the baby for the whole pregnancy because of the blood thinners i will have to be on and risking freely giving myself osteoporosis.

    - a gyno who i met with last week said any heart conditions are risky with pregnancy but from what he can see he cant give me a professional opinion until i am pregnant seeing as every single pregnancy will be different. he said he understands my desire and "if i was you or your partner i would go for a baby before the surgery" but that's just want he would do.

    so basically i am completely torn. I am mature enough to completely understand where my heart doctors are coming from they are doing what they know best which is looking after my heart which they have done brilliantly my whole life.. they don't take into consideration that i am a woman and the huge desire to have children.

    My partner is happy and supportive in what ever decision i want to make but i wont want to get pregnant because i am being selfish because its what i want and risk not being able to carry full term or not be able to give my growing child what it needs from my body.

    can anyone give me any sort of help?

  2. #2
    aussiemidwife's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Hi Emily - Welcome to the forum. You certainly have had a lot of challenges regarding your health. I cannot see a clear cut path for you. It will be a decision you will have to way up carefully. A pregnancy will be a journey into the unknown for you. So far I can see you've received slightly conflicting information from the different doctors. Health professionals will offer their opinion and depending on their view points and the research they've read they will say different things. Getting this information will be helpful for you and your partner in making this very important decision. You might feel that seeing another obstetrician could be helpful. Maybe try to find one that specialises in women with cardiac problems? I don't know how easy it would be to find an obstetrician with this speciality (there may not be one available for you to consult). I would also suggest doing a lot of research on your particular condition and pregnancy from midwifery and medical journals. They more you inform yourself the easier it will be weigh up whether or not a pregnancy is right for you. Another suggestion to consult a private midwife (make sure this person has a lot of experience) - they might be able to go through all the information you have and help you with your decision making.
    Moderator Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond

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