PPMC is a rare disease where a pregnant woman's heart becomes weakened and enlarged. It can happen anytime between the last weeks of pregnancy up until five months after delivery.
First, women should know the symptoms:
o Shortness of breath and coughing that generally occur at night.
o Difficult or uncomfortable breathing on exertion.
o Swelling above and below the knee.
o Abdominal pain or chest pain.
o Palpitations (awareness of heart beating)
o Pink sputum.
Now women should be aware of the numbers:
50% of women recover normally
30% of women live with the disease throughout their lives
20% of women die.
Why does it happen?
The causes are unknown. Studies can't make it a rule that smokers, alcoholic are obese people are the ones that get PPCM because it's not true. A woman, 26 years old, didn't meet any of the risk factors of heart disease but had PPCM. Some studies relate this medical condition to the stress put on a woman's body during pregnancy, including the 50% increase of blood volume.
Never underestimate the symptoms, whenever you feel something unusual, check it with your doctor!