My Pregnancy with Heart Disease - Miracles Happen
My pregnancy with a Heart Problem
I was so excited about my pregnancy. I had done all the necessary preparation and had read everything about pregnancy, even about the care packages for new moms.
But one day, when my pregnancy was almost at the end, I began feeling pain in my chest. I went for a check-up, and my doctor told me it was probably due to anxiety over the coming of my child and so I should not be worried.
I also felt the doctor was right, especially since before the pregnancy, I was very healthy and active. Besides that, in my family, there is no history of heart disease or high blood pressure. My pregnancy was doing well, too, except for a few swellings.
The pressure actually went down after some time, but the last fourteen days of my pregnancy, I was feeling uncomfortable. My swelling worsened, especially on my legs and feet, and it was so painful. Giving birth also complicated things. I gave birth to a healthy baby, but I hemorrhaged and required intravenous fluids.
The first morning after I left the hospital, I woke up abruptly, struggling to breathe. I decided to go to the hospital the following day. My doctor again insisted that it was pregnancy anxiety. He also gave me medicine for a cough that I had started taking.
That evening, I felt terribly weak, but it was difficult to lie down. I spent the whole night moving here and there looking for pregnancy articles that could have an explanation of why I was feeling that way. I was more desperate than during my pregnancy.
The following day I called my doctor. And since my coughing was also worsening, the doctor assumed I could be developing a blood clot. He took me to the emergency room where an X-ray was taken, and it was found that my heart had become bigger. This led to an echocardiogram, which revealed that my ejection fraction rate (a measure that shows the health of the heart) was 15%. This is below the normal percentage, which should be between 55% and 70%. This was when the doctor knew that my pregnancy had affected my heart.
A diuretic assisted, quickly taking thirty pounds of fluid from me. I felt somehow better, but I was still confused as the medics were trying to determine how bad my heart condition was. I even heard them saying that I might need a heart transplant.
That was hard for me to accept, especially since throughout my pregnancy, all I dreamt of was becoming a proud Top-Mom, but now I was far away from my newborn child.
My heart began recovering slowly. After one month, my ejection fraction was 40%. It later got to 50% and eventually became normal.
It has been 8 years now, and yearly echocardiograms show that I have remained within the required range. My doctors still can’t tell why my pregnancy affected my heart.
When pregnant, the heart and the circulatory system are stressed. Throughout the pregnancy, the volume of blood goes up by thirty to fifty percent to nourish the fetus, the heart pumps more blood every time, and the heart rate goes up. But an angiogram did not show any structural issue; the structure of my heart was fine. The doctors said I had probably contracted a virus during my pregnancy.
Throughout the whole period, I had been adhering to a low-sodium diet, as well as my family. I went back to working out 6 months after that ordeal.
Currently, I am part of a group that is raising awareness about heart disease in pregnancy definition. So far, I have shared my story about how pregnancy affects the heart of many women. I am even raising funds for heart and pregnancy researches and raising awareness about how to take care of the heart, especially during pregnancy. Also, doctors advised that pregnancy after a heart attack is dangerous; I cannot have more kids. That hurt me, but the fact that I am still alive and have a chance to advice other people about heart problems during pregnancy is a great consolation. Also, being healthy and able to support my child, I have a caring husband. What more can I ask for?