One of the long-standing obstetric traditions which have been copied from text-book to text-book is that the heart of the pregnant woman undergoes marked hypertrophy, particularly during the latter months of pregnancy. This would seem reasonable on account of the extra work which the burden of carrying on the fetal circulation necessarily throws on the heart, but the recent observations of Stengel and Stanton do not bear it out. These authors assert that there is little, if any, hypertrophy of the heart during pregnancy and that the apparent hypertrophy is due to a displacement of the heart upward and outward, arising from the pressure of the growing uterus on the diaphragm. Accepting their observations as correct, we must assume that the reserve power of the normal heart is sufficient to carry on the fetal as well as the maternal circulation without reacting markedly to the added burden, and, therefore, that
NEWELL FS. CARDIAC COMPLICATIONS OF PREGNANCY AND LABOR. JAMA. 1912;LIX(13):1147–1151. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04270090391001
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