PH and pregnancy
Pregnancy poses a risk for women with any type of pulmonary hypertension (PH) as it is associated with high rates of maternal illness and even death.1 For this reason, women of childbearing age with PH are recommended to use reliable contraceptive methods to avoid pregnancy, or to consider an early termination if they do get pregnant.2
Various methods of contraception are available – some can be used alone, whereas others should be used together to ensure sufficient protection from pregnancy.3,4
It is important for women with PH to be informed and aware of the risks of pregnancy, and for them to seek expert advice from a women’s health specialist, alongside their PH specialist, when deciding on the most suitable method of contraception for them.
Reviewed by Prof. Simon J Gibbs
Last medical update: 05/30/2020
- Bédard E, Dimopoulos K, Gatzoulis MA. Has there been any progress made on pregnancy outcomes among women with pulmonary arterial hypertension? Eur Heart J 2009;30:256–65.
- Galiè N, Hoeper MM, Humbert M et al. Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary hypertension: the Task Force for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Respiratory Society (ERS), endorsed by the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT). Eur Heart J 2009;30:2493–537.
- Olsson KM, Jais X. Birth control and pregnancy management in pulmonary hypertension. Semin Respir Crit Care Med 2013;34:681–8.
- Thorne S, Nelson-Piercy C, MacGregor A et al. Pregnancy and contraception in heart disease and pulmonary arterial hypertension. J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 2006;32:75–81.