Skip to content

    Heart Disease Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Congenital Heart Defects - What Increases Your Risk

    In most cases, the cause of a congenital heart defect isn't known. But certain things increase your baby's chances of having a heart defect. These include:

    • Family history. A child's risk for having a congenital heart defect increases if a brother, sister, or parent has one.
    • Other genetic conditions. For example, Down syndrome has been linked to these defects.
    • Premature birth. Babies born too early have a higher chance of having a heart defect.
    • Chronic conditions. Babies born to women with diabetes or phenylketonuria have a higher chance of having a heart defect.
    • Use of alcohol or drugs during the pregnancy. When a woman drinks alcohol or takes certain drugs while she is pregnant, her baby may develop a heart defect.

    If you're concerned about having a baby with a congenital heart defect, you can take steps to lower your risk. For healthy pregnancy choices, see the topic Pregnancy.

    Recommended Related to Heart Disease

    Do You Know Which Symptoms Signal a Heart Attack in Women?

    Most women know the symptoms of a heart attack -- squeezing chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea. But as it turns out, these symptoms are more typical for males. Female heart attacks can be quite different -- and it’s important for all women to learn the warning signs. Rhonda Monroe's story is a cautionary tale. She was mystified when strong pain struck her left breast and left arm. Monroe, who was a 36-year-old mother of three, didn’t know it at the time, but she was having early symptoms...

    Read the Do You Know Which Symptoms Signal a Heart Attack in Women? article > >

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 08, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    x-ray of human heart
    A visual guide.
    atrial fibrillation
    Symptoms and causes.
     
    heart rate graph
    10 things to never do.
    heart rate
    Get the facts.
     
    empty football helmet
    Article
    red wine
    Video
     
    eating blueberries
    Article
    Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
    Slideshow
     
    Inside A Heart Attack
    SLIDESHOW
    Omega 3 Sources
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Salt Shockers
    SLIDESHOW
    lowering blood pressure
    SLIDESHOW