Pregnancy is considered to be high-risk for individuals with cyanotic heart disease such as Ebstein's and is not recommended for individuals with severe forms. There may be a danger of the formation of blood clots, causing strokes in extreme cases, as a woman's blood coagulates more easily during pregnancy.
Other changes in circulation may increase right to left shunting in untreated cases, which reduces even further the oxygen supply to the body tissues. This may lead to further complications that pose risks to both mother and child. Babies born to women with cyanosis are usually lower in weight than normal, and there is an increased risk of miscarriage and premature births.
If the patient chooses to proceed with pregnancy, careful monitoring by health professionals is essential. Minimal activity and bed rest are usually recommended, and treatment with anticoagulants and oxygen therapy may be prescribed. Cesarean section may be selected as the safest form of delivery.
The prospects for successful pregnancy are reduced when arrhythmias, right-sided congestive heart failure, and/or cyanosis are present. However, untreated Ebstein's patients with mild or absent symptoms and those who have been treated successfully often have successful pregnancies.
Anyone with congenital heart disease, repaired or non-repaired, should consult with their cardiologist prior to becoming pregnant to review the risks.