(WYTV) – Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for women in this country, and deaths from heart disease in women who are pregnant or have delivered a baby within one year has gone up over the past 30 years.

How do we deal with this?

What may appear as normal symptoms during pregnancy may overlap with red flags for heart failure. These might include some swelling and shortness of breath.

“There is a unique form of heart failure that occurs during pregnancy and shortly after having a baby called peripartum cardiomyopathy. Black women have up to a sixteen fold of the risk of developing this condition, compared to White women,” said Dr. Demilade Adedinsewo.

Eating a healthy diet, exercising, getting enough sleep and not smoking can lower your risk.

When pregnant, keep your regular appointments with your doctor and keep close track of blood glucose and blood lipids.

The sooner the doctors can identify a woman who’s pregnant and at high risk for heart failure, then they can can plug her into care early with the right therapies.