The Region's First Heart Program for Pregnant Women Celebrates 14th Year

September 10, 2015

Kansas City, Kan. — As recently as a few decades ago, women with congenital heart disease or other heart problems were urged to avoid getting pregnant. The fear was the extra strain of pregnancy could harm the mother and baby.

However, in the 14 years since The University of Kansas Hospital heart program opened its pregnancy clinic, it is far more common to encourage women with heart problems to carry a pregnancy to term.

"While pregnancy can be complicated by heart problems, it turns out that most women with heart problems can safely carry a pregnancy to term and have a safe delivery," said Kevin Mulhern, M.D., cardiologist at The University of Kansas Hospital. "It's very uncommon now to recommend against pregnancy, whereas that was standard practice in the past."

Tess Gorski of Knob Noster, Mo., never thought having her own children would be possible when growing up due to her heart condition. She had come to accept that she would have to adopt or use a surrogate in order to start a family. But after her marriage, the cardiology patient and her husband began to consider the possibility of children.

Through the Center for Advanced Heart Care's pregnancy clinic and under Dr. Mulhern's watchful eye, Gorski was able to deliver two healthy boys and now has her third child on the way.

"If you have a heart condition but want to have children, I strongly suggest you look into it. You have to be your own biggest advocate and find a doctor you're comfortable with," Gorski said. "I'm definitely comfortable with my experiences. And I know that God has put us here where KU can take great care of my boys and I."

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