Many people think that once baby is delivered, there isn’t really any more health worries for mom, but in fact, there is a potentially deadly heart condition that can arise after birth: Peripartum cardiomyopathy.
Peripartum Cardiomyopathy, or PPCM, can occur in the last weeks of pregnancy or in the months after birth. It is a disease of the heart muscle and it can be fatal if left untreated.
PPCM weakens the heart muscle which means less blood is sent out – so your organs don’t get enough oxygen.
Only about 1,000 women develop PPCM annually in the United States.
It can be tough to diagnose PPCM because it is heart failure and many symptoms are similar to discomforts found in late pregnancy and the immediate postpartum period like: Swelling, shortness of breath and fatigue.
Other symptoms include: Heart palpitations, low blood pressure, dizziness and increased urination at night.
If you have concerns, it is always a good idea to ask your doctor to do an examination and specifically ask about PPCM. You can also ask for an echocardiogram to make sure your heart is functioning properly.
PPCM can be mild or severe and the cause of it isn’t known, but doctors think prior viral infections, immune issues, poor diet or genetics can factor in.
The good news is, PPCM can be treated. There are medications that can be used to limit fluid and swelling and allow the heart to heal and many women recover normal heart functions.
If you suspect you are having an issue, please consult your doctor or midwife. This article is for informational purposes and is not intended to be used as medical advice or in place of medical treatment.
At Everything Birth, we care about your health!