Pregnant Woman Reportedly Dies After Shoveling Snow

Winter storm Jonas has left the entire east coast reeling, and even more so for the family and friends of a young pregnant woman, who died Saturday, after reportedly shoveling snow in front of her house. Briahna Gerloff, who was just 18, of Pottstown, PA, was found unresponsive in her kitchen, NBC10 reports.

Gerloff was eight months pregnant and had several heart defects, according to one relative who spoke with NBC10. This included Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a rare condition in which sufferers are born with an extra electrical pathway in the heart, which can cause a rapid heartbeat. "I told her it probably wasn’t a good idea for her to be outside shoveling," the family member said. "She wanted to do it anyway."

Police are investigating the death, with an autopsy planned for today, according to the local paper The Mercury.

It's actually not unheard of for shoveling snow to lead to a heart attack, especially in people with pre-existing heart disease, the elderly, and those with risk factors like high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In fact, last weekend's blizzard led to at least six other deaths related to shoveling. Three older men died in New York City "with shovels in their hands," the New York Times reported.

What makes snow shoveling, specifically, so risky? Part of it is the exertion, but it's also that cold temperatures naturally cause arteries to constrict and blood pressure to spike, making work in the snow even more dangerous than similar activity in warmer temperatures.

At this point, it's still unconfirmed what exactly caused Gerloff's death, and whether her pregnancy played a role. No matter what, it's tragic news. Ava Cruz, a childhood friend, has set up a GoFundMe to help cover Gerloff's cover funeral costs, The Mercury reported.

“She was a great person and she would have been an amazing mom," Cruz said.

More from Wellness

When you get pregnant, the food advice you receive tends to revolve around what you supposedly can't eat or drink: sushi, seafood, alcohol, soft cheeses...
Sexting was never my thing, and I sure as hell never thought I would even consider cybersex. I knew myself — or at least, I thought I did. I’ll get too ...
Although he had been dead for decades, Jim Morrison said something a few years ago that shocked people. He wasn’t speaking from beyond the grave, but in ...
When it comes to rock climbing, an all-or-nothing approach is key
Can you boost your self-esteem just by changing the way you stand? For years, a few scientists — most recognizably one by the name of Amy Cuddy, PhD (...
Historically, women in West Africa have not had a voice. Men decide if their wife or wives can use birth control or have access to money; fathers decide if...
If you live in the Northeast of the U.S., you might want to check on the meat in your fridge. The CDC announced on Saturday that it is investigating a ...
(Paid Content) In this age of label-aversion, hookup apps, and social-media flirtation (nothing says romance like a DM, right?), few would disagree that ...
How many times have you woken up with a disgusting hangover after a heavy night and vowed never to drink again? Well, this common plight could one day be...
Foreplay often doesn't get enough credit — not to mention time or attention. In one study of heterosexual couples published in the Journal of Sexual ...
Sometimes getting motivated to exercise can be harder than the workout itself. That’s why it helps to think of your gym time as a middle school dance: ...
The benefits of yoga are constantly touted by fitness gurus and scientific researchers alike: practicing yoga has been linked to reducing stress, boosting ...
Working out's a LOT more fun when you can do it on your own terms, in your own crib, with your own tunes, and your own friends
In April, I ran a story called “The Medium-Sized Woman Problem.” The “problem,” of course, was not the women themselves, but the way in which we frame ...