Heart Surgery, Pregnancy, Labor And Baby Delivery… Can You Help Shannon?

I recently received a very interesting email from Shannon about heart surgery, pregnancy, labor and baby delivery. In her note to me, Shannon asks for help from other patients about delivering a baby after heart valve surgery. Can you help her?

Shannon writes, “Hi Adam! I am a 26-year old female.  I will be having aortic valve repair (due to a bicuspid aortic valve) and aorta replacement (due to an aortic aneurysm) in the next 5-6 weeks.  I am fine with having the surgery and scars.  However, my husband and I would like to have kids within the next few years.  The doctors have said I will be able to carry kids, but are worried about the actual delivery and the various heart conditions they may be born with. I was wondering if you have heard from any women that have been in a similar situation before and may be able to share their experiences with me and my husband. Much love, Shannon”

I have some thoughts about delivering a baby after heart valve surgery. (In particular, I would think a Caesarean section might reduce the strain and protect the valves during labor and delivery.) However, I have not researched this topic extensively.

That said, I am very curious to know what the regular visitors to this blog think. Can you help Shannon? If so, please leave a comment below.

In advance, thanks so much for helping Shannon!!!

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • Amanda

    I am 34 years old. I had valve replacement approximately 7 months ago. I have been advised, as I was before surgery, to not have any more children. Apparently when you are pregnant the volume of blood in your body increases dramatically. I had an echo when I was 32 weeks pregnant with my second child. I went from mild to moderate regurg. I had the surgery about 3 years after this. I would suggest this women definately have a cesarean section to deliver and ask some serious questions about what being pregnant will do to her valves. If she chooses the mechanical valve I do not believe she could become pregnant due to the coumadin. If she chooses a non mechanical valve, chances are she will need to have replacement surgery again sometime in her life. I guess the question would be if she wants to take a few years of the life of her valve, as you now know a child is probably worth it!! By the time she would need another replacement it could very well be a minimally invasive procedure.

  • Margaret

    Hello Shannon,

    I was 13 when I had my aortic replaced and I’m currently on blood thinners. I was 23 when I gave birth to my healthy daughter who is now 17yrs. I had to change my meds to hyprine and take shots in my stomach for the 9 months but everything else went just like normal. No C-section here because it has a higher risk of infection.

    I hope this helps and good luck.

    Margaret

  • Mary Kellogg

    Hello Shannon,

    I am 35 yrs. old and had my aortic valve replaced on November 10, 2008 w/bovine tissue and also ended up with a pacemaker. I had annual EKGs since I was 13 and when I was engaged at the age of 28, my doctor told me that I should consider adopting and that I should not get pregnant due to my narrowed valve and regurg. Just has my husband and I were starting the adoption process, my annual indicated It was time for the surgery. My cardiologist and surgeon have both indicated I should be able to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy with my new valve and also my pacemaker. I go in for the 6 month follow up and pacemaker check in June and will talk to my doctor more about it at that time. I am giving my body at least a year to recover before we do anything, pregnancy or adoption.

  • Shannon

    Thank you so much ladies!!!! It really makes a difference to hear that other women have been in this same situation.

    The surgeon is optimistic about repairing my valve (so no blood thinners), however, if it needs to be replaced it will be done with a tissue valve.

    Future surgery is already a definite, due to my age and the life expectancy of the valves.

    Thank you once again for shedding some light on this for me. It is very much appreciated!

  • Terry Kriedman

    I think at this time pregnancy in women with congenital heart disease, repaired or not, is much more common. The risk to mother or fetus may be higher than for someone without heart disease, but it is certainly manageable with mostly good outcomes – for those with congenital bicuspid aortic valves and thoracic aorta aneurysms, repaired. It seems very important to be managed by a team including perinatologist (high risk pregnancy doctor) and cardiologist. C section is not necessarily the way to go – there are many fluid shifts and blood loss risks involved in
    c sections. Listen to your doctors, make sure they are experienced, and that you deliver in a facility that can handle any issues that may arise.
    Please accept this disclaimer that this is not meant as medical advice.
    Good luck, best wishes.

  • Shimin

    Hi, I have been living with mitral valve prolapse since i was 8, and i’m 33 this year. Despite having it and was advised to be cautious of pregnancy, i was pregnant and delivered a healthy baby boy when i was 29 through normal delivery with the help of epidural to minimise the presusure to the heart.

    I agree with Terry that “The risk to mother or fetus may be higher than for someone without heart disease, but it is certainly manageable with mostly good outcomes”.

    I was told by my doctor that i need to schedule for a valve replacement next year, and could not pregnant after that.Hence. i’m working (hard) this year on another baby (as advised by doctor) and hopefully it will be smooth running for me.

  • Charity

    I’m a 31 year old mitral valve replacement patient. I have two healthy boys. I was told that it was risky, but doable to have a baby. I had to take shots during the majority of my pregnancies. I was in and out of the hospital with irregular blood thinner levels. I had to see a high risk doctor every 2 weeks the entire pregnancy with frequent ultrasounds.
    The second baby tore my cervix a little and I ended up not clotting very well and needing a couple of units of blood. If I could go back and change anything, it would be to have my second baby induced. My labor came on so quickly that I couldn’t have an epidural. OUCH!! The doctor told me AFTER my second baby that it would be catastrophic for me to get pregnant again…We’re not planning on any more children, but the two I have were definitely worth it all.

  • DARLENE

    I HAD A VALVE REPLACEMENT 8 WEEKS AFTER MY BABY WAS BORN, MY BABY WAS FINE THANK GOD, BUT MY PREGNANCY WAS TOTALLY HIGH RISK. I HAD EVERY IMAGINABLE MACHINE ATTACH TO ME. I VISITED MY CARDIOLOGIST DURING PREGNANCY, HE ADVISED NO LONG LABOUR AND TO REST A LOT, I WAS GIVEN AN EPIDURAL AFTER 12 HOURS OF LABOUR AND THEY TRIED TO ELIMINATE AS MUCH PAIN AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE THE PAIN WOULD CAUSE MY PRESSURE TO INCREASE AND THE RISK OF HIGH PRESSURE WAS A SERIOUS PROBLEM, BUT THEY CUT ME FROM FRONT TO BACK, AND EVERYTHING WAS FINE

  • Ashish

    My sister had also changed mitral valve in year 2004 but dr. advished her that can not have baby .
    So please give some suggestion about this that in future can they have any baby.

  • Emily

    I had my Aortic valve replaced and the base rebuilt when I was 16. (Mechanical Valve) I am on Coumadin and was advised not to have children, and told it was possible but expensive. I went on heparin shots when I became pregnant in 2004. I was a “outpatient” in the hospital in my hometown so I could go in every day and have my blood levels checked. My Cardiologist has an awesome PA who called me and adjusted my meds every day if needed. I had frequent ultrasounds for the first 4 months, but doctors backed off of that when all was normal. Other than a very bruised prego belly, the only scare was when my blood pressure spiked (which resulted in an ambulance ride). All was OK. I had a C section and was taken off all blood thinners (of coarse) before the surgery. My daughter is 6 now and definitely worth every second of the pregnancy! (Though I am nervous about having another- I’m a Mom now.) The only lasting damage that could have possibly been caused by the experience is the weakening of the bones in my spine. It has not been studied fully that I am aware of- but there is a theory that high doses of heparin can weaken your bones.
    Good luck to your Sister!

  • Kristina Pettersson

    I am a 33 year old, 2 time heart surgery patient. First time was in Australia when I was 19, Ross procedure aortic valve replacement. This procedure was chosen so that I would be albe to have children and would not have to use blood thinning medication.
    24 weeks into my first pregnancy with my son I was told by my cardiologist that I had an aortic aneurysm and was told to be very aware and careful. I had weekly ultrasounds until he was born via cesarian. 10 months later, at 31 years of age, I had to have valve reparation (was to be a complete replacement with bovine but they found it could be fixed when they were in there) and an aortic root graft (Gelweave Valsalva Vascutec prosthesis). This was almost 2 years ago. Now I am pregnant with my second child and really would like to have a VBAC. My cardiologist in Sweden said this should be possible, we will see.

  • nikki

    hi, im 24 and i had a mitral vlave replacement 4 years ago it was my 3rd heart operation since then i have regular palpatation. i took warfarin 8mg a day but my partner and i decided to try for a baby. my dr took me off warfarin and put me on fragmin injection just over 2 months ago and ive found out that im about 6 weeks pregnant. i wasnt due to see my heart specalist for a few months yet but im now being referred to him to be seen early. this is my first pregnancy i dont know what to expect. can any one help. x

  • LaTonya

    I am 38 and have had my mitro valve replacement(mechanical valve) since 2005. I’m going through some sort of phase in reference to wnating to become a mother. I have heard one doctor with positive responses about me becoming pregnant, however the others are no so positive. We are wanting to become pregnant at this time, and I am/was so confused on what to do. After reading some of your posts I feel more confidant. I am on warfin (coumadin, I know I can handle the heprin stomach injections throughout the pregnancy. I just know prayer and faith will work out for me. My first step is finding me a good high risk doctor in Tennessee or surrounding states.

  • LaTonya

    Hi Nikki,

    I was wondering how are you doing with your pregnancy. I read your post, Emily and Charity ad now I want my own child even more. I always thought that women with our issues were not successful with having children, however that seems to not be true. Congrats to all of you and thanks for everyone’s posts…. this has helped me to relieve some of the stree, and I guess internet searches can be a big help..

  • Nekeisha

    Hi Im 36 and had mitral valve replacement a year ago and I just found out I am pregnant and now Im afraid can some please help me I need to know what to do.

  • Sara

    Hi Shannon,

    I was wondering how things turned out for you. Did you end up getting pregnant? Were there any complications?

    My situation is somewhat similar to yours. I am twenty six and I recently found out that I was born with a bicuspal aortic valve. I never knew this until about a month ago. I have severe stenosis and mild regurg and am going to have my valve replaced in about a month or so. I am getting a porcine or bovine valve because my fiance and I desperately want children after we get married in January. We want a big family and, after having children, I will go with a mechanical valve when my porcine valve begins to go.

    Please let me know how things went for you. My cardiologist and surgeon are very optimistic, but it’s all still so new to me.

  • Rae

    Hi ladies!

    I have already had aortic valve replacement twice. The first time I was 20 (2000), I contracted Endocarditis on my aortic valve (I was born with stenosis)! My valve was replaced with a tissue valve because I wanted to have children. Well I only got married last year, and at the beginning of this year I knew I wasn’t feeling well…it turned out my replacement valve was on its last legs ( it lasted 10 years and 7 months, so I was happy)!

    So in July this year I had replacement surgery AGAIN and chose to have another tissue valve. Why? So that I wouldn’t be on anti-coagulants. (these have to carefully monitored during pregnancy)!

    Why am I writing all this… Well I wanted you all to know I have certainly thought a lot about this topic. I have researched, asked questions and thought long and hard.

    Is it possible to have a baby after aortic valve replacement? My surgeon and cardiologists said yes! Of course each individual case is different, but the fact is yes it is.

    When you’re pregnant your blood volume increases, this is why you need to heavily monitored.

    My advice: (please note, I’m not a cardiologist, I’m just going off my own experiences.

    1) Talk to you cardiologist. Find out what state you valve is in before you put it under any extra pressure.
    2) Do I need to have extra monitoring while pregnant? Yes. You will need to be watched carefully.
    3) Find out about your own possible risks, we’re all different. Any pregnancy carries risks, so don’t over worry, talk to the experts.
    4) if you have a mechanical valve, you must get in touch with your cardiologist NOW if you’re newly pregnant. Your anti-coagulants doses etc will need to be changed. Warfarin can damage your child, so they will change it to heparin most likely. Again I’m no expert, but I do know you MUST have this looked at. Tell your doc right away. BUT don’t panic, they know what their doing.
    5) if you have a tissue valve you are most likely not on warfarin, still, it is important that if you have just found out you’re pregnant that you tell you doc/cardiologist. They will want to check you over.

    I have not had a baby yet, so you might think what do I know, but I have done the research as I want one (or two if I can). I’m 31 (tomorrow) and 8 weeks post second aortic valve replacement, and my surgeon is happy for me to become pregnant. I will do to. I’m just looking into how long I should leave it (a few months yet)!

    So, hopefully those that were under the impression woman shouldn’t get pregnant after heart surgery, they can, but talk to your cardiologist…each case is different.

    Do have hope, we can all have hope?

    Do be careful. Plan and ensure you stay fit and know what to do to look after yourself.

    Do remember there are plenty of women in our shoes who have successfully had children!

    I’m going to keep you updated with my blog on my progress. I talk to the docs a lot, and although my case may be different to yours, it will at least let you know one situation.

    So yes, I have aortic valve replacement twice, I’m 30 and I will try for a baby! I will have to have my valve replaced again, next time it will be mechanical. This is my chance and I’m going to take it!

    I wish you all the very best. Keep savvy and look after yourselves!

    Rae xx

  • Joie Salileng

    Hi everyone! I am so overwhelmed about the stories you shared. I am 28 y/o and less than 2 years ago I had 3 valve tissue replacement ( mitral, bicuspid, & aortic). I had history of a rheumatic heart disease when I was 9. Just less than 2 yrs my heart valves deteriorate & surgeries are needed. So I had the surgery and talk about using mechanical vs tissue valves. I chose tissue valves on my three valves because I want to have kids. A year after my surgery I got pregnant and I am expecting any time now. My doctors & I discusses all the complications of having a risk pregnancy due to my condition. Thank God until now my pregnancy had been perfectly watch over & My MD’s even told me I’m more healthier. My doctors recommend to have a normal delivery because my pregnancy went smoothly. I am positive about having it Normaly. My families & relatives are woried to have it normaly & advices me to schedule it for C/S but I want to experience of having pains & labors just like a healthy woman without medical condition. I am willing to have an epidural & C/S if I can’t do it naturally but I want to try atleast. My due date is 3/18/2012, I am 38weeks now and full term. Anytime I can have my baby. Wish me luck and hopefully my story will help someone about their condition.

  • Amy

    Hey everyone,
    I am 26 years old and had a double valve (mitral and aortic) a little less than 3 weeks ago. This is my 3rd mitral valve replacement, first aortic. I was born with a congenital heart problem and have always been told that pregnancy was not an option. But, by the grace of God and modern science, my doctors now say that this may no longer be the case. I have wanted children since I can remember, and though adoption is an amazing choice for some people, it has always been my dream to carry my baby to term. I am not looking to conceive anytime in the near future and want to give my body at least a year to fully recover from the stress of the surgery. I was wondering – for those of you who started on Heparin from coumadin (warfarin) how much forewarning you gave your doctor when you decided you wanted to have a baby? I have no idea how long a drug like coumadin stays in your system, but I have taken it for as long as I can remember, and am currently on 9 mg. Would I need to be on Heparin for a certain amount of time prior to attempting to conceive? I know there will be a lot of components involved in a pregnancy for me but I feel like the rewards far outweigh the risks.

  • JOiE kathrina

    Hi Shannon!

    My advice is talk to ur doctor about ur plan of having a baby. Be sure to ask questions about complications & the heparin you are taking. I was on Aspirin before I got pregnant and my MD’s told me it’s ok to take baby aspirin but by choice and I did consult it to my MD I’d stop taking it during the duration of my pregnancy. Thank goodness my labor & delivery went smoothly and able to deliver it normally. I have a two months healthy baby boy born on 3-13-2012. Had a three ( tricuspid, mitral, & aortic tissue) valve replacement almost 2 years ago. My health has been great and my heart especially my valves were functioning accordingly & amazingly. Maybe after 2-3 years I’m planning to have a baby again. Gudluck on ur journey!

  • nikki

    Hi all i posted last year about being pregnant, i had a baby girl called ellie-may she was born 8 weeks early weighing 3lb 8oz. shes now 12 weeks old n weighs 8lb6oz and is 100% healthy. my pregnancy went well up untill my 3rd trimester my placenta stopped working so it was safer to deliver. i had a c-section while under a general. my problems through pregnancy had nothing to do with my heart…and i cajt wait to do it all again.

  • Pam

    Hello to everyone and I am happy to hear that I am not alone. I am 42 years old and 24 weeks pregnant. I had mitral valve prolapse with severe regurgatation. When I was 27 I had valve repair, which failed after about 4 years. I had a child when I was 18 and had to have a C-section. I had some complications as my vitral valve disease was not severe at the time. After induced labor the doctor did not want to strain my heart and I had my C-section. I had congestive heart failure, which was resolved quickly with water pills. I then had a repair done at 27 and was told that I should tolerate pregnancy with my repair. I then had two more children. I had some complications with the second one, with some tachycardia, resolved with medication and then my third no complications, but both C-sections. Then 5 years ago my valve repaired failed and I had mitral valve replacement with a porcine valve. I do not take blood-thinners, but was on beta-blockers for rapid heart rate and a baby aspirin. I had the surprise of my life when I found out I was pregnant again and was not planned. I was very scared and still am. I stopped taking my aspirin and beta-blockers, but after 1 week had atrial fib. I spent 3 days in the hospital and now I am on 125mg of beta-blockers. I am being followed by a high risk dr and cardiologists. I went from 5 weeks to 24 weeks with no heart related problems. Dr. has put me on water piils because of swollen feet. Trying to be pro-active to keep the extra fluid off of my heart. This will be my 4th C-section scheduled late August. I have started getting some palpatations and seeing dr. end of the month. Worried but confident that I will get through it. Tubes are getting tied after that.

  • Kaycie

    I am 24yrs old and am having my first baby by surprise. I have had two open heart surgeries and was born with contential heart disease. One heart surgery at 13months (a patch was placed) and another at 20yrs where a heart valve was replaced with a pig valve (since I didnt want medications for the rest of my life, and wanted children). I am nervous for this pregnancy since my first visit consisted of the obyn explaining how high risk I was. I am in shape a good weight and very healthy but because of the heart conditions I am high risk from day one. There isnt too much information on the internet to help understand what to expect, so I will share what I have been told so far. I am only 7wks so very early stages.
    Due to the wired shut chest bone from my last heart surgery I will never be allowed to go into labor and will have a planned c section a week or two early to lessen the stress to the heart. Having a normal labor is not possible I was told. I also have a genetics dr, high risk dr, obgyn, and my regular cardiologists who are all communicating. It helps to have insurance where all of the doctors have a way to communicate aka Kaiser. This will be an interesting next 8months. Hoping for the best and to not live in the doctors office.

  • Trish

    Hello,
    I am 24 years old and I have had 5 heart surgery’s including 4 open heart surgery’s, I am set to marry my fiance next year and would like to start a family shortly after. I have a aortic mechanical heart valve that was put in when I was 19. I have been thinking alot about pregnancy and trying to research it as much as possible, and after a tearful day of reading all the negative things that can happen, its nice to see that there are some success stories. As much as I would be willing to have a surrogate, it honestly just is too costly and in order to have a child I feel that I am on my own, and can only hope and pray that everything will turn out good. I have spoke with my cardiologist about pregnancy in the past and he beleives that I will be fine, but also informs me that there are risks. My fiance is worried and beleives that it is not worth the risk of losing me. I still have to meet with my adult cardiologist to talk about it with her but its nice to know that I am not alone. And I can only hope that as we progress with technology that some of the risk will be less. I hope to hear more success stories and will post when I chose to become pregnant.

  • Gina

    Hello, everyone. First, congrats on the successful surgeries and babies. My name is Gina and I had a successful open heart surgery called the Ross Procedure performed by Dr. Starnes on November 2nd, 2011. I had a bicuspid aortic valve/with severe stenosis. I was giving the okay to conceive 6 months after surgery if all went well. Today I am 33 1/2 weeks pregnant due on February 24th, 2013. I am excited and very very nervous. I have frequent follow ups with my cardiologist and my obstetrician. Everything is going as well as can be expected. Like everyone else I have my concerns… Although I am grateful to be here today and pregnant, I would love the full experience of natural birth…I guess in my own selfishness I want to feel like everyone else in a a sense. My obstetrician has me so confused and I believe she is putting more stress on me than needed, I am trying to understand. She is in contact with my cardiologist frequently. My cardiologist has informed her that my condition is stable, he considers me low risk, and he believes I am well for natural birth. Here is the thing: My obstetrician although informed by my cardiologist that I am well she believes that because I have had heart surgery she considers me high risk and states that no one in my city would want to deliver my baby naturally….and for that reason if I opt for natural child birth she would prefer for me to deliver out of town, almost 2 hours away! She basically said no doctor in my town would deliver a previous heart surgery patient, in her own words “no one would touch me.” Now after seeing her today she wanted me to contact my doctors 2 hours away, the ones who performed surgery on me and ask them what they think. I don’t know why that would be necessary if I already am going to a cardiologist here in town to have my check ups with and who has been seeing me since before and after surgery. Well, nonetheless I emailed Dr. Starnes and his assistants as instructed. I don’t know why my obstetrician waited this long to tell me all of this when it was her who almost a month ago asked to have my cardiologist tell her if I was okay for natural child birth and all of the sudden his answer is not good enough. I am so confused and finding myself very stressed at the moment when I should be relaxing. Any one have any advice please email me at moongoddess087@aol.com Thanks all and God bless. :)

  • Shannon

    WOW! I completely forgot that I had written this so many years ago and I can’t believe the huge POSITIVE response! I have enjoyed reading all of your comments! Here is my update:

    I had my surgery in 2009. They actually only repaired the aortic aneurysm at this time. The doctors felt like my valve would be okay for another 8-10 years and then need replacing. One year later, we got pregnant with our baby boy! I was high risk but everything went wonderfully. I had a scheduled c-section. He was delivered in March
    2011.

    One year after having him, I started having shortness or breath. After days in the hospital they decided my aortic valve needed to be replaced. They strongly encouraged a mechanical valve since this was my 2nd surgery in less than 3 years, So on March 12, 2012, I had my valve replacement surgery. Hello life-long Coumadin!

    It has now been a year since this surgery and my doctors and I are talking about possibly having another baby. I have a fabulous team of doctors that ALL communicate wonderfully. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified. We are still gathering all the info and getting a plan together in case we decide to go ahead with pregnancy. So far, the best I can gather, is we will need lots of prayers! =)

    I am so happy that I got this discussion going and so happy that I re-found it….haha! Your stories are absolutely amazing and re-assuring. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone.

    All my love,
    ~Shannon

  • miggy

    Hi everyone i am 25 yrs old female and am not married. Docs said i need to do surgery asap as i have rheumatic heart disease with severe mvr. I met de surgeons n thy gave two options mechanical n tissue valve. I started searching in internet n i found this page n i thought it might help me as i am so confused and so worried. I have read all de above comments n now m quite happy n confident to get surgery done. But onething i want to ask is which valve sholud i go for? Pls suggest me n guide me. As i hve heard tht mechanical valve replacement needs to take bloodthinners which is very harmful for one wanting to have baby. Uhhh. Pls tell me which valve should i choose ?

  • Shannon

    Hi Miggy! This is Shannon…the original poster. =) First off, everything will be just fine as far as the surgery goes. Just remember that is is another day at the office for your surgeon. I guess the main thing you would need to consider would be if you are sure you would like children sometime in the next ten or so years. If the answer is even kind of yes, then I would go with a tissue valve. I didn’t have my valve replaced during my first surgery and I successfully had my baby boy a year and half after!

    I had a mechanical valve put in about a year and half ago (when my boy was one). My doctors and I decided this was best since it was my second surgery in three years. The coumadin is a necessary evil. It has many negatives including some diet restrictions, no more alcohol, and the possible effects during pregnancy. I have had many talks with my doctors about a possible pregnancy and it something we are still praying about.

    If it were me, I would opt for the tissue valve. It just gives you more years of being able to make the decisions you think is best for your family. I would give anything to have a tissue valve now, but it just wasn’t an option for me at the time. Plus, just imagine how far technology will advance before you need to replace the valve again. =)

    Praying everything goes well for you!

  • miggy

    thank you so much shannon for your response. i hope everything goes well with me…finger cross…

  • Aditya

    Need your suggestion & opinion
    3 years ago my wife (age 27 yrs) had double (mitral and aortic) valve replacement (Mechanical valve). Now we both are planning for baby. Can you please guide me what precautions should I take & also about the complications.

  • Gina

    Hi, Miggy! I am 26 years old and almost two years ago I had the Ross Procedure (valve replacement). Recovery time was 6 months and that’s when I was given the okay for pregnancy. Now I have my daughter, Luna whom is going on 8 months and is healthy as can be. The surgeons and cardiologists prefer that you give birth naturally and it is usually the best thing, but during my labor the doctors thought it would be safer for not only myself but my baby to do a c-section. Everything turned out fine. They say the mechanical valve lasts longer, but I will tell you exactly what my surgeon said to me the first time he met me to go over surgery… He said that at the age that I was (24) at the time was usually a time when a lot of women are starting to become mothers, he then asked me if that’s something that I was interested in because he noticed a ring on my finger. I said “yes, with all my heart” and we proceeded from there. So, ultimately you need to go over the options with your doctors and loved ones and find the best option for you. Good luck and keep is posted! :)

  • miggy

    Hi Gina thank you so so much for your opinion.. but my surgeon said if you choose mechanical valve you wont give birth child bearing. i was so depressed that time. i am suffering now because i had weak heart during childhood. so u n ur surgeon choose mechanical or tissue valve?

  • Gina

    Hi, Miggy. I had the Ross Procedure which is like a tissue valve, but instead the replacements are used from my own body instead of using something foreign…less chance of rejection for my heart. :)

  • Aditya

    Need your suggestion & opinion
    3 years ago my wife (age 27 yrs) had double (mitral and aortic) valve replacement (Mechanical valve). Now we both are planning for baby. Can you please guide me what precautions should I take & also about the complications.

  • Dawn

    I had surgery for a bicuspid valve and stenosis about 5 years ago. I had a Ross procedure as well. The biscupid aortic valve was discovered when I was about 2 months pregnant. The pregnancy was high risk but I delivered normally. I asked my OB about the hereditary aspects and was pretty much told no worry. I was a busy mother with a job and a new baby and did not think about it for some time. The pediatrician never mentioned an issue even though he had my histroy. At one point I was having an echo and the technician told me there is a 50% chance your child will have the same valve disorder. I have no idea if that percent is correct but the next time my daughter went for a regular check up they detected a murmer and she was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic heart valve. She now has a dilated aorta that may need surgery soon. Since I was DXd while pregnant I did not have to face any choices, but there are far worse things a child can be born with, inherit, have occur to them, etc. healthwise. It still is difficult for my daughter. I do not let her know the extent of my concerns but do try to stress following the MDs recomendations. She has been told to not lift buit 5 lbs which is nothing. She is a new college student and I bought her a rolling book bag, but she still has to lift it sometimes to put it in her car when she comes home for the weekend. I had an argument with her about it recently and told her she needed to have a serious talk with her cardiologist about it. She has an appointment in ealry December. She is getting old enough where she needs to truly understand the implications of her medical condition. I want her to wear a medic alert bracelet or whatever and she is not crazy about the idea, She will be traveling oversees for a summer semester in a year and a half and I really worry how she will manage luggage and it scares me to death that something will happen to her so far from home and alone. At the same time she needs to continue to live a normal life. I almost hope her surgery will be soon so the aorta can be repaired. Her aortic valve itself is functioning fine but I am told surgery for her aorta is inevitable and that she needs to have it before she has children.

  • Rebecca Hunt

    I had an Aortic Valve Replacement 6 years ago (aged 35) I have a Bovine (Cow) Tissue Valve. I am now aged 41 and am 7 weeks pregnant. My cardiologist told me there is nothing special I need to do through out my pregnancy but antibiotics at time of delivery/c section are a must. My tissue valve and my heart are in great condition and if I wish to have a natural delivery I can. I have kept myself fit & healthy since my replacement and it has paid off.

  • krystle

    Hi shannon just wanting to know if you had success in pregnancy after your mechanic heart valve replacement as I have a simular scenario I first had my open heart surgery 2007 then again in 2010 Im 29 years old and want another baby just unsure and scared I suppose

  • Leilani

    I am 24 yrs old and just had my mitral valve replaced and got a mechanical valve. My doctor had told me I couldn’t have any kids because its high risk and cause birth defect as well as death. Although I have 2 beautiful healthy little girls before all this happened to me I am so grateful that I already have 2 kids but I would want to have a couple more kids later on in the future with my future partner/husband. Just thinking about not being able to have any more kids gave me very lil hope in everything until I found this site and reading all these comments gave me so much hope.. thank you for this site and hearing many of your stories..

  • Sandra

    Hello everyone, I was wondering if there’s somebody that has gone through a successful pregnancy with a mitral heart valve replacement (MECHANICAL) recently? And can share her story and give some advice on how to start preparing to get pregnant. I had my first mhv replacement when I was 11yrs old in 1993. Back then I was told that I could never have kids. Then at age 26 I had a second mhv replacement in 2007 there again, I was told that I couldn’t have kids, either, but was never given the option of a tissue valve. For some reason I’ve never given up on the idea of having a child of my own. Adoption n a surrogate are not options due to sentimental and financial reasons. Now at 32 I’m not getting any younger and know risks are high, but would like to try getting pregnant. I have never tried it, since I’m well aware of the risks but would want to do it before I reach age 35. Any advice would be very helpful.

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