It’s no secret that women and men are different, which is why medical advice must always take these differences into account. So when the American Heart Association published its latest set of guidelines in late 2013, it prepared a separate set of guidelines for women. And these cover every stage of their lives, including pregnancy.
In pregnancy, the American Heart Association states that women at risk of preeclampsia – because of a history of high blood pressure – should be prescribed low-dose aspirin in the second and third trimesters of their pregnancy. The guidelines even recommend prescribing medication for female patients with very high blood pressure during the course of pregnancy.
In addition, the association offers clear advice for sufferers of specific types of heart disease, such as pulmonary hypertension, highlighting the very high risks pregnancy represents. Although it does not discourage them from being pregnant, the association recommends that women suffering from such conditions work with doctors that are specialists in high-risk pregnancies.
It’s encouraging to see an organization that promotes heart disease awareness going an extra step in tailoring its advice for women. And it’s even more encouraging that this advice, even around the controversial area of drug use during pregnancy, provides clarity for women facing these heart conditions and wanting to become mothers.