Maternal Heart Care
Our Maternal Cardiac Program helps people with heart conditions have safe pregnancies and healthy babies. We are Oregon’s first and only program to bring expert heart and pregnancy care together in one place.
- Doctors with expertise in heart disease and high-risk pregnancy.
- Individual care and delivery plans to ensure the best outcome.
- A nurse coordinator to streamline appointments and tests.
- The most advanced technology, including cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
Pregnancy and heart conditions
With the right planning and care, most people with a heart condition can have a safe pregnancy and delivery. We also have the expertise to help people who may have been told they couldn’t have children.
If you have a heart condition, specialized care during pregnancy is essential. Your heart works harder during pregnancy, increasing the risk of complications. Seeing experts in high-risk pregnancy and heart care can increase your chances of success.
What makes our program different
We are the only maternal heart care program in Oregon and southwest Washington that allows you to see, in one visit:
- An obstetrician who specializes in complex pregnancies.
- A heart specialist with detailed understanding of needs during pregnancy.
Coordinated care: Two doctors work together and with you to create the best care plan. They talk in person often, sharing expertise and making it easier to catch complications early.
Advanced testing: We have access to the most advanced imaging, research, tests and treatment in the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute and the Fetal Care Program at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
What to expect
Our care starts before you get pregnant and continues after you give birth. We will help you understand options so you can make the right decisions for you and your family.
You can expect:
Team-based care: Your obstetrician and cardiologist will work closely with each other and with your other doctors.
Your care team also may include:
- Anesthesiologists to create the safest pain-relief plan for labor and delivery.
- Radiologists for imaging and monitoring of your heart and your baby.
- Doctors in the Intensive Care Unit, if you need to give birth there.
- A registered dietitian to improve your nutrition and health.
- Your local doctors, if you are coming from outside Portland.
Nurse coordinator: A nurse will help you schedule visits, tests and imaging. Your nurse coordinator can also answer questions and connect you with OHSU services.
Convenience: Everyone you see will be in the same place, often on the same day. Some tests and imaging are in nearby offices.
Conditions we treat
- Congenital heart disease
- Aortic disorders
- Ischemic heart disease
- Some vascular (blood vessel) conditions
Heart and pregnancy care can vary widely. We will tailor your care to your needs.
How we help: If you have a heart condition, we strongly encourage you to visit us before you get pregnant. People with heart conditions do best when they prepare for pregnancy early. We can assess your heart and help you improve your health before you get pregnant.
What happens: We will talk about your health history and review your heart condition. We will discuss your goals, risks and options. We may recommend more tests or medications that are safe for pregnancy.
- An echocardiogram or cardiac MRI for detailed images of your heart.
- An electrocardiogram (EKG) to check your heart's electrical activity.
- An exercise test on a treadmill to help predict how your heart reacts to stress.
- Genetic screening and counseling to help you understand any risks to your baby.
Number of appointments: You will have at least one visit to discuss your condition and how to prepare for pregnancy. We may recommend more visits for testing and follow-up.
How we help: We closely monitor your health, heart and growing baby. We create an individual care plan that includes the safest place, time and way to deliver your baby.
What happens: You will see your pregnancy doctor at every visit, and your heart doctor and any other specialists whenever needed. Your treatment might include heart medications that are safe in pregnancy. If needed, we might recommend minimally invasive surgical procedures to fix minor heart defects.
Tests: We offer ultrasounds, genetic tests and counseling. You may need additional monitoring and imaging, depending on your condition. It’s common to have multiple echocardiograms to check your heart during pregnancy.
Number of appointments: You will see us at least once a month for the first half of your pregnancy, then every two to three weeks. For the last month, you will see us every week, or more often if needed.
How we help: If you have a heart condition, you may have a higher risk of complications after delivery. Your heart is still working hard as your body absorbs the extra blood your baby needed during pregnancy. We monitor you closely and treat you right away if we see early signs of heart trouble.
What happens: We check in with you often. We help you make a smooth transition to a cardiology team for ongoing care.
Number of appointments: Most people see us at two weeks and six weeks after delivery. If you have a high risk for heart problems, we will see you sooner.
- Pregnancy and Heart Disease, Go Red for Women, American Heart Association
- Pregnancy in Women with Congenital Heart Disease, Adult Congenital Heart Association
- Pregnancy and Your Heart, Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
Call 503-418-4200 to make an appointment.
Parking is free for patients and their visitors.
3270 S.W. Pavilion Loop
Portland, OR 97239
Map and directions
For referring providers
We partner with you to care for patients with high-risk pregnancies.
- Refer your patient to OHSU.
- Call 503-494-4567 to seek provider-to-provider advice.