Pregnancy and HHT: Planning to have a baby?

HHT-Pregnancy

 

 

Any woman planning to have a child has a lot of questions, but those living with a chronic disorder such as HHT need even more reassurance and clear answers.

According to the Health Service Executive (HSE), a chronic illness is defined as a long term condition which can be treated but not cured.

Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) affects 1 in 5000 people and it is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder. That means that each child born of an HHT parent has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the gene. The sex of the child is irrelevant. Men and women are affected with HHT in equal numbers.

Pregnancy considered high risk

Pregnancy in patients with HHT is considered high risk. This is due to the possibility of life threatening complications.

Women with HHT appear to be most vulnerable to complications in the second and third trimesters due to physiologic adaptations which occur in pregnancy.

However, it’s important to know that most women living with HHT have a normal pregnancy without developing any complications due to the disorder.

 

An essential consultation before pregnancy

It is recommended for the future mother to see a doctor prior to the conception. This allows a check up before the birth of a child and ensures a good following up. The consultation can usually be performed by the attending doctor, who knows about HHT.

It is essential to follow certain preventive measures recommended before and during pregnancy.

It is essential for women planning to be pregnant to do a screening for pulmonary AVMs.

Screening and treatment, if necessary, should be done before pregnancy.

It is important to check the absence of spinal AVMs before or during pregnancy if epidural anaesthesia is planned.

About the screenings during the pregnancy

It is highly advised not to do any screening during pregnancy, unless there is a strong clinical suspicion of pulmonary AVM.

Treatment and follow-up adapted to each case

If you are under medication, it may be necessary to review the prescription of drugs in order to preserve the health of the baby. Your doctor will make sure that the treatment is compatible with the pregnancy and will advise what is best suited for the foetus.

While three ultrasounds are done in a normal pregnancy, women with a chronic illness may have one per month. This will not affect the proper development of the foetus since the ultrasound used on pregnant women is not considered dangerous.

Check the process in your local area.

Birth, when baby shows up

A vaginal birth should be favoured, with a second phase of labour shortened if a cerebral AVM has not been excluded.

Also, antibiotic prophylaxis and venous air filters are indicated if pulmonary AVM has not been ruled out.

Being careful and anticipating is essential

Pregnancy is a wonderful moment as long as it goes well and allows the birth of a healthy baby with a healthy mom.

Diseases, disorders and medications can be harmful to the development of a foetus and it is imperative that a woman living with HHT talks to her doctor when she decides to have a baby.

Make sure to go to your consultations, have a healthy diet, sleep well and enjoy this fabulous moment!

Pregnancy