UK Doctors Are Failing To Identify Signs Of Heart Disease Among Pregnant Women

By Christie Abagon , Dec 08, 2016 10:52 AM EST

A lot of pregnant women are dying due to heart attacks and heart problems in the UK.  A recent study condcuted says that this is because doctors fail to recognize symptoms of these conditions. 

Some Women Are Not Aware That They Are At Risk

In the UK, two in every 100,000 women who gave birth between 2009 and 2014 died due to heart disease.  This accounts for almost a quarter to all maternal deaths during the said period.  Some women, or about 17 percent, did not know that they are at risk because they are clueless about their heart disease and that pregnancy and childbirth cause strain to their body. 

Prof Marian Knight, lead author of the study said: "Women need to be aware.  The take home message is there are lots of symptoms in pregnancy that are normal.  But there are some that are not normal but people are missing these less normal things."

Doctors Should Be Watchful About Heart Disease In Pregnant Women

The death rate among pregnant women due to heart disease shows an alarming number of expectant moms not getting enough care.  In one case, a woman went to her doctor five times in two weeks to complain about cough, shortness of breath and problems breathing when lying down.  Despite these heart illness symptoms, doctors prescribed her with antibiotics.   Eventually, doctors realized the woman has heart failure.  Although the baby was delivered through Caesarean section, the mom died just moments later. 

Health officials said that maternal deaths in the UK is still very low, but the government has a long way to go in tackling this problem. 

"Whilst dying from heart disease in pregnancy or after childbirth is uncommon, women need to be aware that they may be at risk, particularly older women.  It is important to seek advice from your doctor or midwife if you have severe chest pain which spreads to your left arm or back. Being breathless when lying flat is not normal in pregnancy and may also be an indication of heart problems," Knight concluded.

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