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CHD, Pregnancy, Decision making, Reflective practice.



  1. Kilpatrick, Kelley MSc(A), RN
  2. Purden, Margaret PhD, RN


This article examines the issue of congenital heart disease (CHD) in women, specifically women who are considering pregnancy. Some of the authors' experiences with women with CHD are described, and a reflective approach to clinical practice is used to gain a greater understanding of the women's perspective. Women with CHD need to balance general lifespan developmental tasks with issues specific to their CHD, such as changes in functional abilities or the possibility of a shortened life expectancy. In women with CHD, physiological, psychological, and family issues need to be considered when they are contemplating pregnancy. As women with CHD move through this debate, nurses may play a key role in assisting them in their decision-making process by exploring issues related to pregnancy and CHD. This exercise in reflective nursing practice allowed us to review the literature, gain new knowledge from our patients, use that knowledge to help other patients, and thoughtfully consider what still needs to be discovered in the care of reproductive-aged women with CHD. The subject of pregnancy contemplation in women with CHD in requires systematic research.