With Bicuspid Aortic Valve, Sara Is Ready To Become A… Mommy

By Adam Pick on September 14, 2011

Lately, there have been a lot of patient comments and questions posted about pregnancy and heart valve disease. To extend this discussion, I wanted to share with you a fantastic email I just received from Sara Bloomfield. Sara writes to me:


Sara & Matt Bloomfield (Chicago, Illinois)


I have a bicuspid aortic valve, dilated aortic root, and coarctation of the descending aorta. Like many other women with valve conditions that are hoping to have children, pregnancy has been an ongoing topic with my cardiologist throughout my life. The conversation was left open after each visit as it would depend on the state of my heart at the time I was ready to have a baby.  After getting married last year, my husband and I were ready to address this.  Based on the function of my valve and root, I am considered to be in the “grey zone” for pregnancy.

My valve function is considered to be moderate and my ascending aorta is estimated to measure between 4.7-4.8 cm (which has not changed in the last six years).  The coarctation of the descending aorta is also considered mild. After performing a stress test evaluation, my cardiologist consulted a group of colleagues at The Mayo Clinic and agreed that they felt that I would be able to handle the pregnancy.  They warned me that pregnancy could result in a need for intervention (risk of ~25% or less) and potential bed rest.  These were risks that my husband and I were ready to take and I’m happy to report that we are now 18.5 weeks pregnant. We are are expecting a little girl!


Ultrasound Pictures Of A Baby Girl
Baby Bloomfield Is A… Girl!!!


Similar to Melinda’s story from a few years ago, the high risk OB that I met with was very concerned with the potential risks that pregnancy posed to my body.  After much consideration, I have made the decision to travel to The Mayo Clinic to be followed by a team of doctors throughout the pregnancy and delivery.  I just got home from my first team visit and couldn’t feel more reassured by the group of doctors that I have focused on me, and am happy to report that all is going very well so far in the pregnancy.  Our baby is developing well and she even had her very first fetal echo.  They went through all of the potential birthing options and backup plans and I am confident that I have a team that is prepared to support my husband and me throughout this adventure.

Information on pregnancy and heart valve conditions is difficult to find and I wanted to offer up my story as another data point for other women out there that are looking to share experiences.  I am happy to start an offline group or provide periodic updates on my story throughout the pregnancy and delivery.

I continue to find inspiration and hope from the stories on your heart valve blog and hope to be able to do the same for others.

Thanks for all of the great work that you do!
-Sara Bloomfield

Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick, Heart Valve Patient Advocate

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Gene Parrish says on September 14th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Sara, I am inspired by your courage! I, too, have a bicuspid aortic valve with moderate regurgitation. I had open heart surgery three years ago to correct an ascending aortic aneurysm. Sometimes we let certain conditions get us down, and take away the joy of living. I’m glad that you and your husband are going forward with your lives, despite the challenges. I hope you will keep us informed through Adam’s blog about your progress. I wish you well!

Elle says on September 14th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Sara what a great posting you have so inspirational. I too have had open heart surgery December 2009 (Severe Mitral Valve Regurgitation and Atrial Septal Defect) and my husband and I are planning on having a baby – your story is giving us hope. Thank you and congratulations. I look forward to hearing more good news from you. Take Care, Elle Sacramento, California

Jimmy says on September 14th, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Sara, I am a 54 year old father of a beautiful 17 year old daughter. I likewise have a bi-cuspid aortic valve and my ascending aorta measures 4.7 cm (unchanged for 3 years). I just wanted to wish you well and offer encouragement because parenthood is an incredible blessing that will change your lives forever! I will be praying for good health for you and your daughter throughout your pregnancy and beyond…. God’s blessing on your growing family!

Doris Taylor-Marcus says on September 15th, 2011 at 7:42 am

Dear Sara and Mattt, How wonderful that you are expecting a little girl! Best of luck to you both. I am a Gram-Ma and grand children are so much fun.

Barbara Simmons says on September 15th, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I’m so happy for you. Children are such a joy in our lives. I had mitral valve replacement ten years ago and I’m doing well. Before the surgery I birth two sons. However, I had a normal experience with my first one and the second one I was put on bed rest. Thank God everything ultimately turned out well. All the best to you and your husband and I hope you will be able to post your experience as you progress with your pregnancy.

Shari Shoufler says on September 15th, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Sara… I am so happy for you. I had mitral valve regurgitation and was cleared for pregnancy in 1997. We got pregnant six months later and during my pregnancy, I developed congestive heart failure. Samantha was delivered perfectly healthy at 36 weeks and my heart returned to it’s pre-pregnancy state within 6 months. Although initially my doctors talked about surgery to replace my mitral valve that year, I made it until this past winter before having to have the surgery. I am pleased to say my daughter is now a healthy, normal (is she ever!) teenager and I have a bovine valve and the strongest heartbeat of my life. Heart disease and pregnancy can be safely managed with great doctors and the right advice!

Sara Reitz says on September 16th, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Thanks to all of you for the support and kind words of encouragement! It has made me very hopeful for a continued great pregnancy! I will definitely keep you updated on my progress. I’m 20 weeks, today, wooohooooo!

Dawn says on September 16th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic heart valve and moderate aortic stenosis when I was in my first trimester. Long story why not diagnosed sooner. I saw a high risk OB and since I was 37 would have anyway. The pregnancy was non-eventful except for high blood pressure right at the end and was induced a little bit early. I was told this was not related to the valve condition. I have a beutiful “baby” girl who is now 16. While I was pregnant the doctors made it sound like I would need surgery soon, but I made it until about 3 years ago when I had a Ross Procedure. When I first had my baby I asked my OB and I think my pediatrician about the hereditary nature of the disorder. I recall getting vague answers. At one point an echo tecnician told me the chances of a bicuspid heart valve are 50% when one of your parents has one. Not long after that, at about the age of 6, my daughter was diagnosed with a bicuspid heart valve and in the last few years has been diagnosed with a dilated aorta. Not to scare you, but keep it in mind. I did not have a choice since I did not even know of my condition before becoming pregnant, but if I did I would have certainly chose to have a baby regardless. My daughter is the joy of my life and technology is amazing and progresses every year. She has seen how well I came through surgery and I am confident regardless of what happens with her condition she will have a long and happy life.

Melinda says on September 23rd, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Sara, I would love to connect with you. I have a bicuspid aortic valve and had a baby 18 months ago. Email me at m-miller@tampabay.rr.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Rebecca says on September 23rd, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Hi Sara – Congrats!! I was wondering what risks your doctor told you could develop during pregnancy and the percentages that those risk affect patients? Was surgery to replace the valve and fix the aorta mentioned for after surgery? I have a bicuspid aortic valve and dilated aortic root (3.8 cm) and I can’t get straight answers from my doctor on what to expect or any sort of percentages for risk factors during/after pregnancy. Hoping maybe you could help. Thanks!

Sara says on September 24th, 2011 at 11:15 am

Hi Rebecca,

The Mayo Clinic did quote me at a risk of complications at ~25% (based on a Canadian study of 1,000 women). This was the possibility of a cardiac episode, which could include any of the following: arrythmia, bed rest, early delivery, etc. I was extremely impressed at how much information they were able to cover because I had found the same as you – most doctors would also not give me a straight answer. If you want to talk any further, please feel free to email me – I would be happy to share any information that could be helpful for you! sara.reitz@gmail.com

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