You could be having heart failure in pregnancy. This is a condition where your heart enlarges and no longer pumps efficiently and you start to drown in your own fluids. If left untreated, you will die of a heart attack, stroke, or sudden cardiac death.
Everything you ever learnt about heart disease being caused by age, smoking, lifestyle, diet, stress, alcohol etc does NOT necessarily apply to PPCM. The cause is unknown.
What we do know is that pregnancy is stressful on the body and heart failure in pregnancy happens to women of all ages. Read PPCM Stories, know the symptoms, educate yourself About PPCM, because the earlier the diagnosis is made, and treatment started the better the outcomes. You could very well be saving your life or a life of someone you know. Please read the website, read the stories. We have made information easy and accessible.
Please spread the word about this condition. Otherwise known as
www.myheartsisters.com has been developed to raise awareness about heart failure in pregnancy (PPCM) and provide support for heart sisters through storytelling and friendship and to educate people on heart failure in pregnancy. Please LIKE our page on Facebook, share it with your friends and family. Link to the website. Know the signs of heart failure in pregnancy, read the stories, so you remember and know when to get help because PPCM is a silent killer. If you have been diagnosed with PPCM, please add yourself to the website and meet other heart sisters.
I was diagnosed in July 2011. I thought I knew everything there was to know about pregnancy. Having had 10 babies but I had never heard of PPCM. I have since met many women who have also been diagnosed with PPCM and all of them would tell you that they had never heard of PPCM. Some women develop it months after giving birth and simply think they are tired, and doctors may even suggest to them that they have post natal depression and then their heart function declines to the point where they are almost dead. Unfortunately, not everyone makes it and women die of heart failure related to pregnancy, leaving behind family and babies.
After talking to midwives, doulas, nurses, doctors and obstetricians, very few had heard of PPCM. This is so disturbing but even if the medical community were more educated about this deadly condition that affects approx 1 in 2000 pregnancies, unless a woman knows about this complication, she may not suspect that she is in heart failure and get help.
This actually happened to me, we *think*, though it wasn't diagnosed as such..
Totally normal pregnancy, normal delivery, a week later I was swollen every where and 10lb above my pregnancy weight. I had a horrible cough and I couldn't breathe lying down just like that information says. I went to my OBGYN, and he diagnosed me with Anxiety and prescribed me Xanax, thinking my feeling of breath shortness was caused from being anxious, swelling caused from overdoing my IV fluids in the hospital. A few days later I literally couldn't breathe, and went to urgent care. They took one look at my pulse ox and blood pressure and immediately called an ambulance (thank God I went to the doc!!). I spent 4 excruciating days at the hospital, tested and treated for everything from H1N1 flu, Congestive Hearth Failure, double pneumonia (testing from all of which was negative). My lungs were completely full of fluid. I lost 30 lb overnight after I was given a diuretic. I'm really f'ing pissed that I had to spend my first days as a mother THAT sick, and away from my baby for a week. They never did diagnose me, and suddenly I was just 'better'.