Rare heart disease – warning for new moms!


Posted on : 25-01-2009 | By : dutdot | In : Health & Beauty, Parenting, Pregnancy

As an expectant mom, I am keen on monitoring about stuffs related to pregnancy, baby, and parenting. This morning, while cleaning up my emails as a regular habit that I do before attending to my company stuffs for the day, I thought of watching some videos from Yahoo! and ABC. I’m going to discuss first about this rare medical condition that afflicted 3-year old Rhett Lamb – he was only sleeping for two hours.


My attention was first caught by the 3-year old boy,Rhett, who just couldn’t sleep before, and that mysterious medical condition is now solved through a successful brain surgery. Click on the photo below to play the video at the ABC site.

It’s a blessing, indeed, both for Rhett and his parents that his rare brain condition, called Chiari Malformation, was successfully given a medical solution. “Chiari malformation is a neurological disorder in which the bottom part of the brain, the cerebellum, descends out of the skull and crowds the spinal cord, putting pressure on both the brain and spine, causing a number of symptoms, including sleeplessness.” Having sleepless nights is something that is not really advisable for people. One of its effects is making our emotions go unmanaged, or would have gone completely haywire. This is probably the reason why there’s something amiss in some people – well, although sleeplessness doesn’t just contribute to awry attitude.

In a not-so-related note, I’m glad that my workaholic husband hasn’t been spending sleepless nights anymore during the last months of 2008, and early on this year due to some realizations.

Read ABC News’ article on the effect of lack of sleep.


The next video that caught my attention was the warning to new moms about a rare heart disease – Peripartum Cardiomyopathy.

Wikipedia defines Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) as a “form of dilated cardiomyopathy that is defined as deterioration in cardiac function presenting typically between the last month of pregnancy and up to five months postpartum“.

Click below to view the video of Tanya Ginther, 26, a mom who was recently struck with PPCM, and how she successfully surpassed this deadly medical heart condition. Tanya’s heart has stopped working – WITHOUT WARNING.

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) named the following Symptoms of Peripartum Cardiomyopathy:

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of racing heart or skipping beats (palpitations)
  • Increased night-time urination (nocturia)
  • Shortness of breath with activity and when laying flat
  • Swelling of the ankles

“The heart muscle weakens in the last months of pregnancy,” Sharonne Hayes, a doctor at the Mayo Clinic, told ABC News. “We don’t know what causes it. It could be inflammation, or a virus, or the changes in hormones.” ABCNews

It’s a warning to pregnant moms and new moms to watch out the symptoms. Don’t just ignore any rare symptom that you are feeling while you are on your last months of pregnancy, and six months after your delivery.

The UMMS cited the following preventive measures to avoid having Peripartum Cardiomyopathy:

  1. Eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet;
  2. Exercise to increase cardiovascular fitness; and,
  3. Avoid cigarettes and alcohol.

The UMMS added that a woman’s doctor may advise her to avoid getting pregnant again if she have had heart failure during a previous pregnancy.

Tanya’s video reminded me to take good care of myself – now that I’m on my last months of pregnancy. I haven’t had any regular routine of exercise. At the start of the year, I also got sick, for almost three weeks now, but thanks God, I did not suffer from fever. Although I went to my OBGyne for checkup of my health condition, I did not heed her advice to drink antiobiotic. I just couldn’t force myself to drink any kind of medicines while pregnant.

Expectant moms and new moms out there, let’s all be vigilant of our health.


I’m glad that the story on PPCM got your attention. As a PPCM survivor who has a group on Facebook for PPCM survivors, we work hard to support each other and to get the word out on PPCM.
The main advice I can give you is to pay attention to your body. If something feels wrong, listen to that intuition.
I’m so glad that the ABC News story made a difference.
~ Dani

hi dani, glad to know that you’re a PPCM survivor. thanks for the advice…i check on my breathing pattern when i lay flat on my back. it’s really important that we are vigilant of our own health…esp. during pregnancy, and after delivery.

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