Mayo Clinic Minute: Red flags for heart failure during pregnancy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S. Deaths from heart disease in women who are pregnant or delivered a baby within one year have increased over the past 30 years.

Dr. Demilade Adedinsewo a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, explains the red flags for heart failure during pregnancy.

What may appear as normal symptoms during pregnancy may overlap with red flags for heart failure.

“(Symptoms can include) lower extremity swelling, shortness of breath with walking short distances or shortness of breath when laying in the bed flat on your back at night,” says Dr. Adedinsewo.

Delays in diagnosis can be deadly. And some who are pregnant have an even greater risk of developing heart failure.

“There is a unique form of heart failure that occurs during pregnancy and shortly after having a baby called peripartum cardiomyopathy,” says Dr. Adedinsewo.

Eating a healthy diet, exercising, getting enough sleep and not smoking can lower risks. Dr. Adedinsewo recommends attending regular appointments with your healthcare team and checking blood glucose and blood lipids.