According to the Cleveland Clinic, bed rest is prescribed for nearly 20% of women in pregnancy for various medical reasons including preeclampsia, incompetent cervix, premature labor, and vaginal bleeding. And while bed rest can help both baby and mother, the inactivity of being on bed rest can lead to problems after delivery due to deconditioning, particularly a condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome or POTS for short. POTS is nicknamed the fainting disease. 

In addition to fainting, new mothers who have POTS due to deconditioning experience symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, shortness of breath, and nausea, which can make tending to a newborn quite difficult. Here's what you need to know if you are a new mother and are experiencing these symptoms. 

What is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome? 

POTS is an autonomic nervous system malfunction. It occurs when there is a positional change, such as when standing up from a seated position. This type of positional change in someone with POTS will cause the blood to pool in the feet, which results in a lack of adequate blood supply to the brain. When the body recognizes this, the autonomic system essentially tells the heart to beat faster to pump the blood back up to the brain. Therefore, someone with POTS upon a positional change will have a drop in blood pressure followed by an increase in heart rate, which causes the various symptoms. 

What Tests Are Done to Confirm Diagnosis of POTS? 

If you are experiencing symptoms of POTS, it's important to seek medical care at an urgent care center like MED7 Urgent Care Center as quickly as possible. While POTS is not life-threatening, a thorough examination is important so treatment for the condition can begin as soon as possible so you will be able to care for your newborn. Tests for POTS includes things like a heart function test, a standing blood pressure test, and blood tests, but you may also be sent for a tilt table test at a cardiologist's office.

What Are the Treatment Options for POTS? 

Often, medication is used to help regulate the blood pressure and heart rate. However, hydration and salt intake are crucial to help control POTS and its symptoms. Be sure to inform your medical care provider if you are breastfeeding your newborn so appropriate medication is prescribed to you. Since your POTS may be associated with the deconditioning of your body while on bed rest, it would be prudent for you to have physical therapy sessions to recondition your body. A physical therapy protocol for cardiovascular exercises and weight training can help improve POTS, while paying close attention to achieving a targeted heart rate.