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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

NC mom raises awareness of heart disease risks for new mothers

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Wednesday, May 22, 2024   

North Carolina's maternal death rate is higher than the national average and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among new moms in the U.S.

One North Carolina woman is determined to shed light on the signs and symptoms through her own experience.

TaShenma Mack, a patient advocate, is well aware of the increased risk of heart disease during pregnancy but was taken by surprise when it affected her. Mack said she was about 21 weeks pregnant when she began experiencing concerning symptoms.

"I noticed I was gaining weight, a significant amount of weight, and having a hard time breathing," Mack recounted. "I couldn't walk three steps and just had a hard time breathing. So, I was going to my doctor's appointment, asking my doctor originally, like, 'What's going on?'"

Her doctor sent her immediately to Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center's OB/GYN emergency department, where she was diagnosed with preeclampsia, or high blood pressure during pregnancy. Age, racial or ethnic disparities, high blood pressure and obesity are the four risk factors of pregnancy-related death identified by the American Heart Association.

To ensure the safety of herself and her baby, Mack underwent a C-section to deliver her daughter prematurely. The baby spent more than 100 days in neonatal intensive care. Mack emphasized at home, she worked to control her own blood pressure, participating in a Novant Health program.

"Basically I had to -- every morning, afternoon, and night -- take my blood pressure, take my medicine, and also take my weight," Mack outlined. "I would have to answer questions about my symptoms on the app, with that information automatically sent over to my OB/GYN and my primary care provider."

Today, Mack has successfully restored her blood pressure to a healthy level and recently celebrated her daughter's first birthday. She emphasized the importance of a healthy lifestyle, being mindful of potential risks and relying on a supportive network.

"Pay attention to those signs -- not being able to breathe, gaining an excess amount of weight, things of that nature -- because not only do you have to take care of yourself, you've got to take care of a baby, too," Mack added.

The American Heart Association recommended expectant parents discuss the signs and risks of heart disease with their doctors, monitor weight and stress levels, and stick to a balanced diet and exercise routine.


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