Good heart health is critical for a successful pregnancy and delivery. It’s also one of the most overlooked issues during the gestation journey. Here’s what to know about the importance of cardiovascular health during pregnancy, how eating and exercising play a role, and how we can help you grow your family.
The Correlation Between Heart Health & Pregnancy
According to data from the Cleveland Clinic, 4% of pregnancies are complicated by some form of cardiovascular disease. Heart conditions are responsible for 1 in 3 maternal fatalities in the United States. Not only do women with preexisting cardiovascular conditions have a higher rate of pregnancy and birth complications, but pregnancy in and of itself is also a risk factor.
During gestation, many changes in a woman’s body can put a strain on the heart and blood vessels. Pregnant women have an increased demand for oxygen and nutrients, which puts extra stress on the heart. Pregnancy also causes an increase in blood volume, which can make the heart work harder and can lead to high blood pressure.
Additionally, many of the factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease are also risk factors for complications during pregnancy. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and smoking. Women who have these risk factors are more likely to experience complications like pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes.
How to Keep Your Heart Healthy While Pregnant
For the best chances of a successful pregnancy and birth, women who are currently gestating or trying to conceive (TTC) should be proactive about maintaining good heart health before and after conception. Here are a few simple ways to get started:
Get Enough Exercise
Exercise is especially important for pregnant women since gestation puts a lot of additional strain on the cardiovascular system. Aim to get 30 minutes of gentle exercise each day to keep your heart healthy, but even just a couple minutes of walking is better than nothing if you don’t feel up to doing much.
Eat Healthy Foods
Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals doesn’t just help the baby grow – it can also help pregnant women reduce their risk of heart disease and complications during pregnancy and birth. Choose whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein when making meals or eating out at restaurants. Avoid processed foods, lots of empty starches, sugary drinks, and saturated fats.
Vitamins that are particularly helpful for heart health include Omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, magnesium, and B vitamins. You should also supplement your diet with a prenatal vitamin as soon as possible, and many women begin supplementation even before conception to ensure the baby has all the nutrients it needs right at the start of the pregnancy, before gestation can even be confirmed.
Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration is a significant factor for pregnant women due to their increased blood volume. It’s incredibly important for gestating women to drink around half their body weight in ounces, but a little more throughout the day won’t hurt. Dehydration can cause fatigue, dizziness, and other uncomfortable symptoms and, when left untreated, low blood volume and high sodium levels can lead to injury or death for both the mother and baby.
Get Help from Viera Fertility Center
If you’re looking for help with your pregnancy journey, look no further than Viera Fertility Center. We offer a variety of services to help you through every step of your pregnancy, from testing to treatment. We provide fertility drug therapy, intrauterine insemination, in-vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, fresh and frozen embryo transfer, and more.
We’re committed to providing the individualized care you need to make your pregnancy journey as smooth and stress-free as possible. Contact us today to learn more about cardiovascular health in pregnancy or how you can get started on your journey by calling 321.751.4673 (HOPE).