This is a difficult topic. Not much is known about the various causes of CHD (congenital heart disease) on a pregnant woman, in the first three months of pregnancy. This is when development of the heart in the uterus is expected to be complete.
Because of this the best thing would be that all pregnant mothers must undergo a routine ultrasound, and if some abnormality is suspected, fetal echocardiography must be undertaken for the precise detection of CHD.
Heredity may play some role in CHD in the fetus. If the mother has any congenital defect in her heart, the chances, though minimal, of a defect in the heart of the expected baby may increase. Genetic counseling may help in such cases before you get pregnant.
Some conditions worth mentioning, which must be avoided by a pregnant mother, are as follows, as there are some likely factors which may disturb the development of the heart in the fetus.
If the mother is diabetic, it must be controlled. Diabetes, and even pre-diabetes, is known to cause CHD. Also if the mother is suffering from epilepsy, the effects of antiepileptic drugs must be kept in mind. Fetal echocardiography is a must in these cases to assess the condition of the heart.
Pregnant mothers, especially in the first three months of pregnancy, must avoid contracting any viral infection, particularly infection caused by the virus of German measles. A good diet is also essential during pregnancy, and don’t drink.
Drugs like thalidomide, which is a known teratogenic, and one used in psychiatry, should also be stopped.
However, in spite of taking best possible precautions, the child may still be born with some CHD. However, remember that even though there may be a little congenital lesion in the heart, it may
Make sure to get early prenatal care, follow your doctor’s instructions and lead a healthy lifestyle to ensure the health of your unborn child.