Pregnancy and Bicuspid Aortic Valve
Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) affects approximately one to two percent of the population. It is the most common congenital heart disorder, impacting both the aortic valve (which controls the flow of blood into the aorta) and the thoracic aorta (the major vessel that sends blood throughout the body).
Healthy aortic valves have three cusps (or leaflets) that regulate blood flow from the heart’s left ventricle to the aorta. In patients with BAV, the aortic valves have only two cusps instead of three.
The Effects of BAV on Pregnancy
Women with BAV who are—or want to become—pregnant need to collaborate with their health care team to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy for mother and child. A woman with BAV is at risk for complications during pregnancy.
The Heart Disease and Pregnancy Program
There is no simple answer to treating a pregnant woman with BAV. Every person’s needs and circumstances are unique.
The purpose of the Heart Disease and Pregnancy Program is to provide specialized care for pregnant women with heart disease. Marla A. Mendelson, MD, is the program’s founder and director. She is known for her research on heart disease during pregnancy, heart disease in women, and adult congenital heart disease. Dr. Mendelson works closely with a team of experts in our Bicuspid Aortic Valve Program.
Many women of childbearing age who have heart disease and are contemplating pregnancy should receive a preconception evaluation prior to becoming pregnant. Our Program for Cardiovascular Genetics can offer further guidance.
Find out more about Northwestern's Bicuspid Aortic Valve program and download your free guide.