Pregnancy and atrial fibrillation

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you have atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia), you might need to alter how you manage your condition during your pregnancy. For instance, you might need to avoid certain medications during pregnancy.

You're at higher risk of developing blood clots in your heart if you have atrial fibrillation. Pregnancy increases your risk of developing blood clots in your legs. Taking blood-thinning medications during pregnancy can help reduce your risk of blood clots.

If possible, discuss your condition and medications with your doctor before you become pregnant. Pregnancy can make arrhythmias worse. However, it's also possible to develop atrial fibrillation during your pregnancy.

Blood-thinning medications to avoid during pregnancy

If you take certain blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), your doctor might recommend avoiding this medication during all or part of your pregnancy. Warfarin has been associated with pregnancy risks.

Other oral blood-thinning medications — including dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and apixaban (Eliquis) — also shouldn't be taken during your pregnancy. There aren't enough studies to determine their effects and safety during pregnancy.

May 03, 2016 See more In-depth