Sex and relationships is not about fitting in because everyone is different. The main thing is knowing all the facts, making your own choices and being happy with it.

Is it safe for me to have sex?

There are many different myths out there about people with heart conditions and sex, they all come from peoples worry. But good news your heart condition shouldn’t stop you having a healthy sex life.

Sex should always be consensual between both parties and be something you both feel ready for, remembering the age of consent in the UK is 16.

Your cardiologist or nurse specialist will be willing to chat to you about any of your concerns around sex and relationships. We know this can feel really embarrassing and make you feel really weird but they are used to talking about this, and it is totally confidential.

A top tip for discussing something awkward with your cardiologist or nurse is to write the question down and hand it to them.

What about protection?

Protection is especially important for women, with congenital heart conditions, as it is best to plan pregnancy. Your doctor, cardiologist or nurse specialist will be able to advise you on the best forms of contraception, testing and screening for STI’s.

There are a lot of different contraception, all are free on the NHS in the UK. It is important for both partners to practise safe sex, it is not just one person’s responsibility. Talk to your specialist nurse or cardiologist about which is best for you.

For most girls with a heart condition the combined pill may be too risky, as it can make blood clots more likely. Contraception can sometimes be taken by women who have problems caused by their hormones such as: heavy, irregular or prolonged periods / acne / mood swings.

If any of these effect you speak to your cardiologist or nurse specialist.

When protection doesn’t work?

Protection should always be thought about before sex, not left till after. It is like most things in life, a little planning and preparation beforehand will always work better than trying to fix something when it goes wrong. It is really important to know what to do if your normal form of contraception fails, for example:

  • The condom splits
  • If you have forgotten to take your pill
  • You have forgotten to use any form of contraception

Women can go to their local pharmacist to get an emergency contraceptive. This contraceptive is not 100% effective and does not offer you protection from STI’s.

Emergency contraceptive pill?

Emergency contraceptive is more effective the sooner after sex it is taken, it is important to speak to your pharmacist as quickly as possible. Speak to your cardiologist, or a nurse specialist, about whether the emergency contraceptive pill is safe for you to take with your heart condition.

Starting a family?

With a heart condition it is really important to plan ahead. Before trying for a family a woman should speak with their cardiologist or nurse specialist. This is so both you and the baby can be monitored, checked and helped through every stage of the pregnancy, any problems can then be picked up and treated as soon as possible.

A heart condition will make every pregnancy different, sometimes you will notice no difference from everyone else and other times you will be checked on more regularly. Speak to your medical team about what a pregnancy would mean for you.

Will my baby have a heart condition?

There is an increased risk of the baby having a heart condition if one or both parents have congenital heart disease. Although the risk, as a whole, is still very small. Your cardiologist or nurse specialist will be able to advise you on any tests which can be carried out to check your babies heart.