Pregnancy and contraception
Pregnancy is very risky for people with PAH, as it is associated with an increased chance of severe health complications for the mother and the unborn child. Some oral contraceptives increase the risk of blood clotting and should not be taken if you have PAH. It is essential you speak to your PAH doctor about alternative forms of contraception and seek medical advice if you plan to or become pregnant.
Many patients are concerned about the impact of PAH on their employment and worry about a loss of income. Depending on the type of work you do and how you are feeling, you may want to speak to your employer about being flexible in terms of working hours or workload. You may decide you need to stop working. Speak with your local PAH patient association about the types of financial or workplace legal support available to you.
Children or young adults with PAH may need extra help from their school or college to support their wellbeing. It is valuable to speak with your child's teacher or school administrator and school nurse to discuss how the school can best accommodate any additional requirements. There may be ways to work out flexible schedules for exams or assignments and moderation in sports. Your local patient association will be able to provide further information on how to prepare for school.
Depending on where you live, there is likely to be social services support available for you and your family. Speak with you PAH medical team or your local patient association to find out more information about the type of support that may be available to you.
It is important that you talk with your doctor if you plan to travel, especially if you plan to take a flight or visit a country with a different altitude.
Altitude affects air density and may cause breathing difficulties, so you should check well in advance with your doctor before booking your flight or travelling to a high-altitude destination, whether or not you may need supplemental oxygen on board. Remember your destination may be at a higher altitude than your home. You may need to arrange additional assistance at airports to get to and from the departure gates. It is also important to ensure that you are covered by the appropriate insurance (i.e. medical and/or travel insurance).