What is peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM)?

Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a rare form of congestive heart failure that is associated with pregnancy. The condition has not been linked to any other condition or cause. If you have peripartum cardiomyopathy, your heart becomes weak and larger than normal. Most times, PPCM occurs in the last trimester of pregnancy or the first month after delivery, but sometimes it takes up to 6 months after delivery for the condition to occur.

Who is at risk for PPCM?

Some risk factors for developing PPCM include high blood pressure, obesity, African-American race, being pregnant with multiples (twins or higher) and poor nutritional status.

What are the symptoms of PPCM?

Common symptoms of PPCM are symptoms of heart failure, such as

  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Feeling tired
  • Heart palpitations (feeling that your heart is racing)

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/09/2019.


  • Naderi S, Raymond R, Pregnancy and Heart Disease, Cleveland Clinic Disease Management.
  • Task Force on the Management of Cardiovascular Diseases during Pregnancy of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), ESC Guidelines on the management of cardiovascular diseases during pregnancy, European Heart Journal (2011) 32, 3147–3197, doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehr218, http://www.escardio.org/static_file/Escardio/Guidelines/publications/PREGN%20Guidelines-Pregnancy-FT.pdf
  • McNamara DM, Elkayam U, Alharethi R, Damp J, Hsich E, Ewald G, Modi K, Alexis JD, Ramani GV, Semigran MJ, Haythe J, Markham DW, Marek J, Gorcsan J 3rd, Wu WC, Lin Y, Halder I, Pisarcik J, Cooper LT, Fett JD; IPAC Investigators. Clinical Outcomes for Peripartum Cardiomyopathy in North America: Results of the IPAC Study (Investigations of Pregnancy-Associated Cardiomyopathy). J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Aug 25;66(8):905-14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26293760
  • National Library of Medicine MedlinePlus, Peripartum cardiomyopathy, https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000188.htm

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