Mother overcomes congenital heart defect to give birth to healthy daughter

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The American Heart Association (AHA) adopted new recommendations in January for women with congenital heart defects who wanted to have children. A Washington Post article examines the case of one mother who may otherwise been unable to survive her pregnancy.

Candace Martinez has overcome plenty of obstacles, well before she thought about becoming a mother. She had open-heart surgery at 5 weeks old, heart failure at 18 years old and a pacemaker installed at 19.

But the 33-year-old new mother was able to give birth to a daughter in February, thanks in part to medical care received from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). According to the article,

“Where we used to think pregnancy was not feasible or a prohibitively high risk” for women with heart defects, said her UCLA cardiologist Jamil Aboulhosn, MD, one author of the new AHA guidelines, “many of these women can actually tolerate pregnancy, but they’re still high-risk pregnancies” that should occur in places able to meet the needs of such patients.

Read more about this case—and the larger discussion of pregnancy and congenital heart defects—here: