Thursday, August 11, 2011

And the Beat Goes On

I'm so sorry to all my readers. I have been an absolute horrible blogger recently. I got pregnant and that caused a whole myriad of things to prevent me from blogging regularly (nausea, fatigue, keeping up with a toddler, appointments, etc).

But I'm doing well, and I'm nearing the end of my second trimester. We found out that we are having another little girl (yay for sisters!) and she's due to arrive in mid November.

How are my heart palpitations these days, you may ask? Oh, they are a pretty active right now! Some women say that pregnancy makes them better and others say that they make them worse. In fact, many women first experience the sensation of palpitations when they become pregnant. This causes many anxious and frightened mama-to-be's to report this symptom to their doctors. Usually, the doctor reassures the mama that these are normal and for many lucky women, they go away after pregnancy.

Mine come almost every day. Some really scare the beejeezus out of me. But for the most part, I've come to accept their annoyances. They are especially bad as I lay down before I go to sleep. I've noticed that if I lay on my right side, they seem to diminish somewhat. And if they are really annoying, I'll sometimes prop myself up with several pillows and sleep upright. They are not too bad when I'm active, but no surprise there. Most of us PVCers are more aware of them when we are sedentary. That doesn't mean they don't occur when I'm up and about; I just don't feel them.

I'm most nervous about the heart palpitations during the post-partum period. Lack of sleep and caring for a new baby and a toddler is a recipe for stress-induced palpitations. I've mentioned before on my blog that my cousin Beth past away within the year of giving birth to her 4th child. There has been much discussion over the cause of her death, but most of her doctors think that she may have had Long QT syndrome, a condition that causes palpitations, fainting, and sudden death. Findings indicate that among women with LQTS who gave birth, the 9-month postpartum time is associated with a 2.7-fold increased risk of experiencing a cardiac event and a 4.1-fold increased risk of experiencing a life-threatening event when compared with the preconception time period. After this transient high-risk postpartum period, the risk of cardiac events reverts to the baseline pre-pregnancy risk. What does this all mean for me? I've been tested over and over and my doctors feel fairly certain that I do not have this genetic condition. So, I shouldn't worry about an increase risk of sudden-death during the post partum period. But when you have a family member die after giving birth, it does make you a bit anxious.


Cakewalk said...

From what you've said, she had so many factors involved that I don't think you can really say she died after giving birth. I wouldn't focus on that as you prepare to have your baby, since you are so healthy and fit. It will only cause unnecessary stress. And though it's genetic, wouldn't it be more of a concern if she had been immediate family, like your sister or mom? I know they don't look at cousins when looking for cancer genes, since first cousins can and have married, producing healthy children. Just some food for thought.

Ali said...

Oh I'm not overly concerned, but like I said it's more of a morbid association.

But unfortunately, YES, extended family should be tested for Long QT syndrome. See the following blog:

My doctors are aware of my history and have done a great job of testing and re-testing me for this condition.

Cakewalk said...

Okay, good. I just wouldn't let it worry you too much, since your first birth went well. :)

Anne said...

I'm glad to have found your blog :) I've had PVCs for 20 years now and have found many, many triggers for my own. When I was first diagnosed I was found to be low in potassium, so I'm very careful to monitor that with diet and supplements (but not go overboard, too much can cause the same effect!) I have 7 children and have also found that hormonal changes are a huge factor for me. The week prior to my period I have PVCs by the bucketload. I also have to make sure I'm keeping hydrated and stress levels in-check. I recently divorced and am so run down from moving and life in general that I caught a yucky cold. Add that in to the stress and PVCs this week are not pleasant. I did have many when I was pregnant, though I felt very well otherwise. I also am hypoglycemic (without diabetes) and I find that it all ties together as well. I don't know if any of that will help you, but I'm looking forward to following you!

Rose From ConQrete said...

Dealing withbthis anxiety, its things like this that get me a lil worked up...reassured that everything is fine and then reading about something or someone dying suddenly and they were healthy, etc. At 22 years old can I be at risk for lqts...thats one thing I haven't asked my doc even though they say my heart is perfectly fine. Darn. That'll be on my mind tonight. Say a prayer for me please.