FINDING OUT YOU'RE PREGNANT CAN BE ONE OF THE MOST JOYOUS TIMES OF A COUPLE'S LIFE.
A POTENTIALLY DEVASTATING DISEASE AFFECTING YOUNG, HEALTHY WOMEN COULD TAKE THAT ALL AWAY.
IT'S THE CALL DOCTOR STEPHANIE DUNLAP NEVER WANTS TO GET...
"It's always my most anxious moment as a heart failure physician."
"Because I have the chance to lose two patients instead of one."
AND THE MOMENT THAT ALMOST TOOK AMANDA HODGE'S LIFE AT 28 AND PREGNANT WITH HER SECOND CHILD, SOMETHING DIDN'T FEEL RIGHT. BUT....
"Doctor after doctor kept saying, 'You're pregnant honey. You're going to have swelling. You're going to have trouble breathing. You do get tired easy.'"
AT 24 WEEKS, HER WATER BROKE. SHE WAS PUT ON BED REST...THEN, THREE WEEKS LATER, SHE UNDERWENT AN EMERGENCY C-SECTION...
WHEN HER HEART SUDDENLY STOPPED BEATING... THE CAUSE?
PERIPARTUM CARDIOMYOPATHY A FORM OF HEART FAILURE THAT AFFECTS HEALTHY WOMEN DURING THE LAST MONTHS OF PREGNANCY OR UP TO FIVE MONTHS AFTER DELIVERY... IT HAPPENS IN ABOUT ONE IN EVERY 35-HUNDRED PREGNANCIES.
25 TO 50-PERCENT OF AFFECTED WOMEN WILL DIE. SINCE THE SYMPTOMS MIMIC PREGNANCY, IT'S OFTEN NOT DIAGNOSED. BUT WATCH OUT IF:
"You develop ankle swelling to the point you can stick your thumb in and leave a dimple that's 2 millimeters or more deep and you hear yourself wheezing and you're having to sit up at night to breathe."
WHILE AMANDA'S LIFE WAS SAVED, BABY GIDEON LEW DIDN'T MAKE IT. NOW AMANDA WANTS TO WARN OTHERS ABOUT THE CONDITION.
"The fact that I'm here at all is an absolute miracle and I won't take that for granted."
WOMEN WHO DEVELOP PERIPARTUM CARDIOMYOPATHY RUN A HIGH RISK OF DEATH WITH FUTURE PREGNANCIES AND DOCTORS WARN AGAINST TRYING TO GET PREGNANT AGAIN.
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.