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​​​​​​​Local Health Alert: Heart Health During Pregnancy

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - "From day one my second pregnancy was different," explains Emily Sosebee.

A rare condition called Peripartum Cardiomyopathy put the Mid-South mom on medication to get through her second pregnancy. While doctors say women shouldn't be alarmed, they call it another reason to stay healthy and exercise both pre and post pregnancy.

Sosebee says with her second child, Everett she suffered terrible morning sickness and rising blood pressure.

"Getting up in the morning was a real struggle. I would have shortness of breath. I would get real shaky, my heart would race a million miles per hour," she explains.

At first, Sosebee blamed the symptoms on her pregnancy. Dr. Arie Szatkowski of Stern Cardiology says women can easily mistake the problem with ailments from carrying a child.

"They're short of breath, they're swollen," he explains.

Peripartum Cardiomyopathy is weakness of the heart muscle that can begin in the final stages of pregnancy through the first five months after delivery. It can carry mild to severe symptoms.

An echocardiogram found it in Sosbee when she was about 6-months along with her son. Her early diagnosis allowed her to continue the pregnancy with the help of medications, but it's tabled talks of a future child. Doctors say it would be too dangerous for her to carry another baby.

The cause is not always known, but it can be brought on by other conditions and risk factors. Dr. Szatkowski says it’s important to not smoke and exercise regularly to help avoid the condition.


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