Peripartum cardiomyopathy

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Peripartum cardiomyopathy (say "pair-uh-part-uhm kar-dee-oh-my-AWP-uh-thee") is a heart condition that some people get during pregnancy or soon after childbirth. It happens when the heart muscle stretches more than normal and becomes weak. It may cause problems, such as heart failure. This means your heart can't pump enough blood to the rest of the body. Blood can get backed up in your lungs and legs.

Symptoms may appear during late pregnancy. They may also show up in the months after childbirth. As the heart muscle weakens, you may feel short of breath. Other symptoms include feeling very tired, having swelling in the legs, and having trouble breathing while lying down. You may also feel faint or dizzy. And you may have chest pain, a rapid heart rate, or a cough.

Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and helping your heart work better. It may include taking medicines.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.