Jacksonville, Fla. – Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women and the number one cause of death among new mothers.

Bloating and shortness of breath are all common symptoms during pregnancy.

But Dr. Demilade Adidinswo, a cardiologist and women’s heart health expert at the Mayo Clinic, says these symptoms can be more serious.

“It can also be a sign of a more serious heart condition, such as a heart attack, for example. And that’s why screening for heart attacks during pregnancy is so challenging,” Adedinswo said.

One in three pregnancy-related deaths in the US is due to cardiovascular disease, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

“Unfortunately, cardiovascular diseases that complicate pregnancy are the leading cause of death during pregnancy in the 12 months after delivery. I consider this very difficult,” Adedinswo said.

Heart disease in pregnant women is the most common heart disease. But cardiomyopathy can cause serious complications. The disease damages the heart muscle, which makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood to other parts of the body, often resulting in heart failure. This is why Dr. Adedenswo says it is important for pregnant women to get regular checkups from their doctors.

“Some of the most common changes during pregnancy include an increased heart rate and increased blood volume. Both of these together can overload the heart, which is why pregnancy is sometimes described as a natural stress test.” Adedinswo said.

Adedinswo said pregnancy does not in itself increase the risk of heart disease. However, she encourages you to always check with your doctor to make sure the “natural test” is safe and healthy.

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