Labor and Delivery with Cardiac Disease

Labor and Delivery with Cardiac Disease

The Northwestern Medicine Heart Disease and Pregnancy Program uses a multidisciplinary plan formulated by maternal-fetal medicine (high-risk obstetrics), cardiology, and anesthesia to anticipate problems that may occur during delivery for women with known cardiac disease. The actual mode of delivery, vaginal or cesarean section, is usually determined by obstetric indications and not the underlying cardiac disease.

What to expect during labor and delivery

In general, women with cardiac disease who have done well during the pregnancy usually only require general management with clinical observation during labor and delivery. These women may receive pain control and require monitoring of their blood pressure. Women who have symptoms during pregnancy and have high risk factors such as high lung pressures or cardiac muscle disease often require oxygen and invasive hemodynamic monitoring during labor and delivery.

Women with cardiac disease may be asked to labor while lying on their left side. In this position, the uterus is not resting on the inferior vena cava (large blood vessel that returns blood to the heart), which may be compressed by an enlarged uterus decreasing blood flow back to the heart. With decreased blood flow to the heart, the heart rate often increases. A woman may require antibiotics during labor and delivery to prevent cardiac infection. She may require a shortened "pushing stage" depending upon the nature of her cardiac disease. Overall, changes in the labor and delivery plan will be dictated by the underlying cardiac disease.

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please call 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
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Referring Physicians
Open communication and cooperation with referring physicians is a critical component of achieving high-quality care and minimizing the challenges that come with treating cardiovascular conditions. For physician-to-physician consultation regarding the best patient care, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, please call 847.53.HEART (534.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital or Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, please call 630.232.0280

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials: