Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment drugs fluid restriction low salt diet specialist Home Care diet lifestyle self-monitoring BP checks pulse checks taking control warning signs Prevention Underlying Cause Anatomy

Heart Failure after Childbirth Diet

Diet changes in those with postpartum cardiomyopathy should include:

  • Control dietary salt: Lower dietary sodium by following a special diet that is low in salt. All heart failure patients should limit salt intake to 1,000-1,500 mg of sodium per day. Foods that are high in salt should be avoided.
    • Do not use table salt; consider a salt substitute with your doctor's consent. Season foods with dried herbs, garlic, onion, or lemons.
  • Fluid restriction: Ask your doctor what degree you need to restrict fluid consumption. Ask your doctor how many 8 ounce cups (240 ml) of water you allowed to drink per day.
    • Remember 2 cups (1 pint or about 500 ml) of retained fluid will equal one pound (2.2 kg) of fluid weight gain.
  • Heart healthy diet: Follow a proper heart diet, which is low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Most people with heart failure taking a diuretic medication need to eat potassium rich foods.
    • Potassium rich foods include bananas, apricots, raisins, oranges, grapefruit, and peas.
  • Magnesium: Eat foods rich in magnesium. Heart failure drugs can deplete the body's stores of magnesium. This has been correlated with more severe symptoms and a higher death rate.
    • Foods high in magnesium include wheat germ, soybeans, oatmeal, nuts, seeds, low-fat diary items, and seafood.

Other general healthy diet measures for postpartum cardiomyopathy include:
  • Control calories:
    • Eat just enough calories to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat quality fats:
    • Use virgin olive oil and other unsaturated, low-cholesterol fats.
  • Eat the right amount of fats, carbohydrates and protein:
    • Limit your fat intake to 20 or 30 percent, but don't substitute simple carbohydrates for fat.
    • Less than 7% of the day's total calories from saturated fat.
    • Up to 10% of the day's total calories from polyunsaturated fat.
    • Up to 20% of the day's total calories from monounsaturated fat
  • Avoid fad diets:
    • Eat a well-rounded diet instead.
    • Eat small, frequent meals.
    • Avoid large and heavy meals.
  • Limit cholesterol in diet:
    • To less than 200 milligrams a day.
  • Limit iron intake:
  • Eat enough dietary fiber:
    • Whole grains are best.
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Reduce salt in your diet
    • Optimal: no more than 2 grams per day.
  • Check with your doctor about supplementing your diet with B vitamins:

Continue to Heart Failure after Childbirth Lifestyle

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Heart Failure after Childbirth References
  1. Airoldi ML, Eid O, Tosetto C, Meroni PL. Post-partum dilated cardiomyopathy in anti-phospholipid positive woman. Lupus. 1996 Jun;5(3):247-50. [8803899]
  2. Bower M, Freeman LJ, Rickards AF, Rowland E. The automatic implantable cardioverter/defibrillator for a life threatening arrhythmia in a case of post-partum cardiomyopathy. Postgrad Med J. 1989 Dec;65(770):932-5. [2616435]
  3. Ng WH, Reid JM. Post-partum cardiomyopathy. Scott Med J. 1978 Jan;23(1):32-3. [635537]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.