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Can't stop losing weight


calypso
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I just cannot stop losing weight and especially losing muscle mass since POTS started. I am really at a loss as to what I should do. I am still breastfeeding my daughter and wanted to continue until she is 1 year old, but she is now 7 months and I feel like I may have to stop. I know most of you aren't breastfeeding and dealing with POTS at the same time, but does anyone agree that breastfeeding, on top of having POTS, could cause this much weight loss? I feel like something is being missed in my case. I have been so short of breath since I had my daughter, and yes, I definitely have POTS symptoms, but so few of you seem to be short of breath AND losing tons of weight/muscle. I swear I have lost about a third of my muscle mass and I now weigh what I did in sixth grade (110, down from my prepregnancy weight of 122).

Why do I keep doubting the POTS diagnosis? Am I being irrational? :lol:

Amy

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Amy,

sorry to hear you are having such a hard time. I also have spells when I lose 20 pds in a drop of a hat. I am in one of those spells right now. With my first pregnancy, I weighed 108 prepreg and after Idelivered( i gained 45 pds) POTS hit me full force, within 2 months after delivery i went from 153(right before delivery) to 94 pds!!! This was 19 yrs ago. I had no idea about POTS, noone knew what was going on. I also had major POTS sx as well. I used to be very fit and muscular-for a woman-because I was very active. I quickly lost weight and muscle. I virtually have little to no muscle tone. I do believe from all I've read that it is probably POTS related but if you feel unsure, check with your cardio or GP whichever is treating you for POTS. Don't know if the breastfeeding has anything to do with it. Guess it could, cause the baby will get the nutrients it needs and may deplete you from some but PLEASE don't take that as advice, ask you dr about it. Like I said, it's just a guess. Sorry I couldn't be of more help. Just wanted u 2 know u aren't alone :lol:

Hugs,

Danelle

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Hi -- Have you talked to your doctor/s about this? I too would be wondering what's going on. For my part, I lost about 20 pounds in the last 18 months without doing one thing different in terms of diet or exercise--the only thing is that my pots symptoms have been worse during this time. I think, however, that I've stopped losing...perhaps because I started doing a number of things that are supposed to help symptoms (salt, fluids, etc).

Also, I remember hearing that breastfeeding expends about 3,000 calories a day. That's a lot of calories! If you're losing more than you're taking in, you're going to lose weight. Of course, since you don't feel well, you probably don't feel like eating more... and then it's a vicious cycle. Maybe try small meals throughout the day? High calorie snacks? (I think the salted cashews I snack on during the day have helped...) Smoothies or shakes with protein powder added? Boost? I'm guessing here... :lol:

I hope you feel better soon ... and that you're able to continue breastfeeding as long as you wanted to. Good luck (and congrats on your new-ish baby!)

Merrill

PS I think that shortness of breath thing comes with the pots territory.

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Hi Amy, first off, I commend you on breastfeeding for so long. With three of my children I only breastfed for 4-6 weeks and I hope to go longer with the one on the way. Let's just say I had waaay too much milk. I could not go out of the house because I would leak even with several pads. I think I actually gained weight because I couldn't do much besides sit in front of the T.V. and feed the baby. I hope I have better luck this time.

I remember feeling so dissappointed because breastfeeding is actually supposed to make you lose weight and shrink your uterus down to normal size. This could be a whole breastfeeding issue for you and not just POTS. I went to a breastfeeding support group for awhile and the teacher always instructed us to eat and drink something while we were breastfeeding so we replenished ourselves.

Unfortunately it sounds like you have lost lots of weight so it may very well be a combo of breastfeeding and POTS issue. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that your doctors don't have a clue what's going on :lol: Personally I would find more support and assistance through a breastfeeding support group. If you go through your local hospital a nurse specializing in breastfeeding is usually administering the group. Even though this nurse may not be qualified in the area of POTS, they are probably more emotionally supportive and more eager to help you and research POTS and breastfeeding.

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Amy,

If it's any comfort to you, the very same thing happened to me with my son. He's 18 months old now and my weight has finally leveled out (I actually gained 3 lbs this month!) but I lost an extreme amount of weight very quickly while nursing (80 lbs in 7 months!!).

I am starting to train for La Leche League leadership, so if ever you have any questions or need info, let me know :lol: Please make sure you are taking in around 2,500 calories per day- this is the recommendation for normal nursing moms. Nursing uses an additional 500 calories per day, so plan for the amount you would like to eat plus 500 extra. I think with a good nutrition plan you can acheive your weight goal. Here's an excerpt from an article out of "New Beginnings" magazine:

How many extra calories do I need when I?m breastfeeding?

The number of calories a woman needs depends upon how much body fat she has and how active she is. While women are often advised to consume about 500 extra calories daily while they are breastfeeding (compared to before pregnancy), research now indicates that this could be too much for some women, while for others it could be insufficient.

Most breastfeeding women need to increase not only the calories they consume, but all the nutrients that make up their diet in order to satisfy the additional requirements of milk synthesis, though for some women the increase will be minimal. If the diet is balanced and varied, the increase in calories will automatically be accompanied by an increase in all the other nutrients.

Most women have some extra weight at the end of pregnancy. These pounds will gradually be used up during the months of breastfeeding, so nutrients will not need to be provided entirely by a mother?s daily food intake. Although the process of how human milk is synthesized is still not completely understood, we do know that it doesn?t take a lot energy. It has been shown that, during lactation, the metabolism of the mother?s body becomes more efficient, not just in regard to calories, but also to minerals.

Here's the LLL link if you'd like to read the full article on Mother's nutrition:

http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBMarApr04p44.html

Good luck, and I hope you can get this under control. At times it's nice to not gain weight, but it can get scary when you're down too low. I'm still about 5 lbs, lighter than I was preg-pregnancy, but am maintaining to say the least. Take care!!

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Thanks for all of your advice!

I just am afraid that if I keep breastfeeding, there won't be much of me left. I really am down to nothing -- all of my veins are bulging out, my wristwatch now fits about halfway up my arm, etc. The weirdest thing is that throughout the day, I retain a ton of water -- my legs swell, and I gain five pounds before the day's end, only to lose it all by the next morning. I have no idea where it goes. I guess this is what makes me think that I have mild heart failure or something, but then again, I have had an echocardiogram and the heart doc says it was fine. I also don't get short of breath when I lie down, and apparently that is the hallmark sign of heart failure.

It is so strange that POTS patients often DON'T retain water and that that's what the salt/fluids are for. But I am already retaining water, so this would not help me. Plus I have slightly higher BP, not low.

Jessica: I am eating about 3,000 calories a day and have been for at least the last few months, but maybe it's still not enough. Try eating 3,000 calories on a low-fat diet -- not easy!!

I am trying my best to get through this without stopping breastfeeding. I started taking Lexapro a couple weeks ago and am praying it starts to somehow make me fatten up a little. My doctors call me "an enigma" and tell me they have never seen a woman have a baby and have anything like this happen. But don't worry, they say -- if it were something really bad, you'd have taken a turn for the worse by now. :lol: That still isn't very reassuring.

Thanks again for your comments.

Amy

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It's migraine again...I just want to make an adendum to my last breastfeeding post. I am not pro breastfeeding or pro bottlefeeding...I am pro - what's best for Mom and baby :lol: During many of my group meetings there were Mother's who were absolutely miserable breastfeeding, but were trying to do what's best for their baby.

If you feel ill or unhealthy and you think you would feel better if you stopped breastfeeding...then that's what you need to do. In the long run you and your baby will be happier. Also, you have gone so long already and done such a fabulous job that little baby has had tons of benefits from you, and you shouldn't feel guilty at all; and maybe it's now time for you to get healthy.

I felt like the middle of a tug-of-war rope...I had people telling me I shouldn't stop breastfeeding because I was so miserable (that it would get better) and people telling me to stop and get myself better and get up and get functioning again. In the end I stopped breastfeeding during the day but kept a couple night feedings until my milk ran out. I enjoyed those little nightly bonding sessions, I felt better, and the baby got a little more Mommy's milk.

If there's anything I've learned from having 3 kids...it's you have to do what you need to do in order to survive and stay healthy...and no one can say what you need to do but you...especially with POTS :(

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Amy,

I did not realize that you were already taking in that many calories- wow! Have you been to see a nutritionist? They may be able to help you figure out exactly what foods to eat to help you fatten up a bit :( I know we're all very different, but like I was saying, this also happened to me, by the time Ethan was 9 months old I was down to about 125 (I'm 5'8) and my doctor was yelling at me to gain weight...but I couldn't, no matter what I ate. As he nursed less and less, I started to level out and after the end of his first year I finally stopped losing weight, and have felt more stable ever since.

In reference to Migraine's post- I hope I didn't come across as being overly PRO-breastfeeding by mentioning LLL- I think a lot of people have misconceptions about this support group- I've heard people use the word "militant" more than once! BUT I am very, very extremely pro what is best for MOM as well. I decided to apply for leadership because I've been attending meetings for 18 months and wanted to give back to other moms who may need support, just like I did with Ethan- and it's one of those things that makes me feel like I am accomplishing something, you know? I almost weaned Ethan at least 10 times, because I was so sick, so tired, the medications interfered, the weight loss, and the list goes on and on...but I managed to plug along somehow...and if memory serves me right Amy, 7 months feels like an eternity when you are going through what we go through each and every day- but it's absolutely wonderful that you've made it this far. You have given your daughter the very best and you should not feel guilty if your health is at the point where you cannot be the mommy you need to be, and you decide to wean her. I wish you (and migraine with her new baby) the best and I know you will make the decision that is right for you :lol:

Jessica

P.S. I forgot to ask, Amy- why are you on a low fat diet? Just curious! I'm assuming ithas something to do with the POTS symtpoms?

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Amy,

I was just wondering, did you have POTS before your pregnancy? ....or was it caused by it.

I am hoping to have children soon and was just wondering. What was your pregnancy like?

Thanks!!

Lisa

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Amy & Jessica: I'm sorry I came across either way about this issue. In my neighborhood we have several Mother's pregnant or with young babies and breastfeeding is a very hot topic. I'm always worried that I will offend someone or not be politically correct or something.

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Migraine-

That's what I was afraid of too!! I didn't want to make anyone feel bad and wanted to be sure that I made clear that I am a very open minded person and not biased either way :D I am very supportive of nursing but I also realize that there are times when mom chooses not to nurse for one reason or another, and it's a matter of personal choice that is perfectly okay, just like any other parenting decision. Now that we're clear on that, lol....

Amy- I will respond to your e-mail sometime today...the baby is teething and at the moment he is crawling on my lap being fussy, so I will wait until naptime :) We're going on day 4-5 of teething and day 2 after shots....uugghhh!! I'm exhausted.

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Lalalisa,

I got POTS a few days after I gave birth to my daughter, so I don't know exactly what's in store for you. But I do know that some get better, some get worse, some stay the same. I haven't heard of anything horrible happening so that's a good thing. If having children is something you really want, I would be followed by a high-risk OB just to be safe and get clearance from a cardiologist before getting pregnant.

Good luck,

Amy

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