On rare occasions pregnancy can lead to peripartum cardiomyopathy, a type of pregnancy-related heart failure once called postpartum cardiomyopathy. Women can develop the condition in the last month of pregnancy or within five months of delivering a baby.
For these women, this type of heart failure can be temporary, or can progress to severe, life-threatening heart failure that requires a heart device to support their weakened heart muscle.
While peripartum cardiomyopathy is rare (occurring in 1 of every 2,500 to 4,000 pregnancies which translates to about 1,000 to 1,300 cases in the U.S. each year), some women are at higher risk than others. It is more common among women who are older, African American, carrying multiples, or who have high blood pressure or preeclampsia.
The cause of peripartum cardiomyopathy is not well understood, but active research is underway to learn more. Early diagnosis improves women’s outlook for recovery. Continue reading →
Seems like the minute you discover you are pregnant, people start reminding you that you are eating for two and to take it easy. While decades ago that was the advice given to women (and is still what many of those around you may be saying), research has shown that a healthy diet, appropriate weight gain and staying active during pregnancy is the best approach for both you and your baby.
Guidelines for how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy were most recently updated in 2009. Continue reading →
So your partner tells you that in addition to all of the obvious physical changes from pregnancy, you have also started to snore.
Is it just another irritant on the list of pregnancy nuisances or a serious concern for your health and your baby’s health?
I’ve been studying the link between maternal snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, and mom and baby health for several years. My most recent study found that chronic snoring (snoring before and during pregnancy) makes women 65 percent more likely to deliver small babies and more than twice as likely to have a C-section as non-snorers. This is true even after other known risk factors, such as obesity, are accounted for.
In addition to the obvious physical changes as your belly grows during pregnancy, what other surprises may your body have in store for you? Pregnancy is an exciting time, but often one filled with many questions — is my baby healthy, can I do this/eat that, and what the heck is happening to my body?
During your first trimester, you’ll probably feel tired, perhaps more tired than you’ve ever felt before. Get as much rest as you can. About 70 percent of women will also experience nausea or vomiting during their first trimester. Eating a balanced diet of bland foods can help. A great over-the-counter combination that has proven effective and safe in controlling nausea and vomiting is taking Unisom (or a generic version) and vitamin B6 before you go to sleep at night.
We all know that breast milk is best for babies, but when you have two, three, four or more babies, is breastfeeding possible? Yes, it is. It requires focus, dedication, planning and help.
Start right. Bring your babies to your breasts as soon as possible after they are born. If the babies are in the NICU or for some other reason unable to nurse immediately, start pumping and saving your breast milk. If your babies are born at under 34 weeks, they will need fortified milk. A mineral-rich supplement can be mixed with your breast milk and given with a bottle for two or three feedings each day, depending on what your doctor recommends.
Being a faculty member in the Division of the Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) at the University of Michigan means I have had the privilege of working with many amazing families and playing a part in this very important time in their lives. My colleagues and I have spent our careers caring for women with pregnancies that for any number of reasons qualify them as being high risk.
Several months ago, we had the extraordinary honor of meeting Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Jessica Hicks and their family. Mrs. Hicks had learned she was pregnant with higher order multiples and was referred to our institution for the special level of care we provide for high risk pregnancies. Upon our initial consultation, we learned that Mrs. Hicks was not just pregnant with four babies, as they had previously been counseled, but rather five babies – quintuplets! Numerous ultrasounds, consultations, appointments, and eventually an inpatient hospitalization for Mrs. Hicks allowed our team to optimize the care that both she and her babies needed.