What You Should Know About Arrhythmia During Pregnancy
Under the best of circumstances, pregnancy is a time filled with excitement and considerable apprehension as you do your best to ensure a successful outcome for you and your unborn child. As your body undergoes incredible physiological changes, certain conditions can crop up, which just adds to your already increasing anxiety. Heart arrhythmias are a prime example of one of these unwelcome developments, but theyre not necessarily cause for panic.
At Heart Rhythm Associates, Dr. Van H. De Bruyn and our team help patients in all stages of their lives better navigate their heart health. And for women who are building their families, we take extra care to ensure that the journey is a safe one.
Heres what you should know about arrhythmia during pregnancy.
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Heart Palpitations While Pregnant
Studies show that heart palpitations are common in pregnancy. Some women will experience heart palpitations for the first time during pregnancy. Others get them before they become pregnant, and continue to feel them throughout pregnancy.
Heart palpitations during pregnancy are usually harmless, but they can sometimes be a sign of a problem. Heres what you need to know about the symptoms, causes, treatment, and complications of heart palpitations during pregnancy.
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Should Women Wear Seatbelts During Pregnancy
Seatbelts should absolutely be worn during pregnancy. Trauma to the mother is more devastating to the child than any potential entrapment of the pregnant abdomen in the seatbelt. The seatbelt should be placed low, across the hip bones and under the pregnant abdomen. The shoulder strap should be placed to the side of the abdomen, between the breasts, and over the midportion of the clavicle. No information indicates that air bags are unsafe during pregnancy. Pregnant women should try to keep their abdomen 10 inches from the airbag.
See the image below.
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Are There Limitations On Exercise During Pregnancy
In the past, women were cautioned against strenuous aerobic exercise during pregnancy. This is no longer true. Most women can carry on with their pre-pregnancy exercising as routine with no trouble.
You should always talk to your doctor before beginning to exercise during your pregnancy. Certain conditions or symptoms might cause your doctor to advise you not to exercise. This includes:
- pre-existing heart or lung disease
- high blood pressure
- cervical problems
- high risk for preterm birth
Most women will be able to exercise as usual while pregnant. You may need to alter your routine if you usually participate in sports or activities that might pose a significant risk of injury, as you are more susceptible to injury when you are pregnant. This is in part because your balance is thrown off by the changes in your body. You should avoid anything that put you at risk for abdominal injury, falls, or joint injury. This includes most contact sports , vigorous racquet sports , and exercise involving balance .
Its important to pay attention to how you feel while youre exercising. If you notice the following symptoms, stop exercising right away and call your doctor:
- vaginal bleeding
- uterine contractions
How Common Are Heart Palpitations During Pregnancy
Its very common to have heart palpitations during pregnancy. They are especially common as women move into their third trimester and their babies continue to grow. As babies get bigger, they need additional blood to stay healthy.
If you had an arrhythmia or other type of heart disease before you got pregnant, youre more likely to have symptoms during pregnancy. They may happen more often or worsen while youre pregnant.
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Target Heart Rate In Pregnancy
Exercise is a great way to stay healthy while you are pregnant. Exercising can:
- ease back pain and other soreness
- help you sleep better
- increase your energy level
- prevent excess weight gain
It has also been demonstrated that women who are in good physical shape experience shorter labor and an easier delivery.
Even if you did not exercise regularly before you became pregnant, it is a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider about coming up with an exercise regimen. Healthy women are generally recommended to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise such as walking, jogging, or swimming each week.
Do Older Fathers Have An Increased Risk Of Fathering Children With Birth Defects
No medical information exists to support the hypothesis that increased paternal age causes increased numerical chromosomal abnormalities in the manner that increased maternal age does. However, as males age, structural spermatozoa abnormalities increase, and affected sperm usually cannot fertilize eggs.
The literature suggests a 0.3%-0.5% risk of autosomal dominant disease in offspring of fathers aged 40 years or older. Autosomal dominant disorders include neurofibromatosis, , achondroplasia, and polycystic kidney disease.
Paternal age has been identified as a significant predictor of schizophrenia. Studies have also indicated a possible association between advanced paternal age and offspring with autism spectrum disorders. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine recommends an age limit of 50 years for semen donors.
Any family with a history of birth defects should seek individual genetic counseling. To determine whether an individual has a family history of risk, patients should inform their clinician or genetic counselor about any birth defects that have occurred in the past 3 generations.
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What Are Heart Palpitations In Pregnancy
Heart palpitations cause your heart to feel like its pounding, racing or beating too quickly. Your heart rate might speed up, slow down or skip a beat. Some people feel like they have an extra heartbeat.
Heart palpitations in pregnancy are very common. During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases significantly. Your heart works harder to pump the extra blood throughout your body and to your baby. This extra work can result in heart palpitations.
Although they can be alarming, most pregnancy heart palpitations arent dangerous. They usually go away after delivery. Less commonly, heart palpitations can be a sign of a serious health problem, such as arrhythmia . If you have palpitations along with chest pain, trouble breathing, dizziness or confusion, get immediate medical help.
Why Do Women Get Varicose Veins During Pregnancy
Varicose veins are more common as women age weight gain, the pressure on major venous return from the legs, and familial predisposition increase the risk of developing varicose veins during pregnancy. These can occur in the vulvar area and be fairly painful. Rest, leg elevation, acetaminophen, topical heat, and support stockings are typically all that is necessary. Determining that the varicosities are not complicated by superficial thrombophlebitis is important. Having a venous thromboembolism in association with superficial thrombophlebitis is rare. Hemorrhoids, essentially varicosities of the anorectal veins, may first appear during pregnancy for the same reasons and are aggravated by constipation during pregnancy.
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What Happens After Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring
You do not need any special care after external fetal heart monitoring. Youmay go back to your normal diet and activity unless your healthcareprovider tells you otherwise.
After internal fetal heart rate monitoring, your healthcare provider willcheck your babys scalp for infection, bruising, or a cut. The providerwill clean the site with an antiseptic.
Your healthcare provider may give you other instructions, based on yoursituation.
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What Is A Healthy And Normal Heart Rate In Pregnancy
A normal adult heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute, and the average rate in pregnancy stays within this range. The heart rate increases from a baseline of around 70 beats per minute prior to pregnancy up to 90 beats per minute during pregnancy, says Gersh.
A 2019 meta-analysis by BMC Medicine looked at heart rate increases in 36,239 pregnant people and found the average heart rate increase was around 10%, or 7 to 8 beats per minute.
The study also found that the average heart rate rises steadily through pregnancy. At 10 weeks, the average heart rate was 79.3 BPM. By 40 weeks, the average rate was 86.9 BPM, according to Medical Today.
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Cardiac Signs And Symptoms During Pregnancy
Signs of heart disease may occur during pregnancy. Symptoms include:
- Trouble breathing while lying down
Note that these symptoms do not always signal heart problems. For instance, you may faint due to blood pressure and volume changes in pregnancy. Shortness of breath and trouble breathing while lying down may be caused by the growing uterus. Palpitations may occur because the diaphragm shifts up in the chest during pregnancy. This causes the heart to sit higher in the chest. If you have any of these symptoms at rest during pregnancy, though, see your healthcare provider.
A heart murmur and ankle swelling are also common during pregnancy. Nearly 90% of pregnant women develop a heart murmur. This may be due to the increased volume of blood flowing through the heart. Only your healthcare provider can tell you if these symptoms are normal or due to heart disease.
Can An Increase In Heart Rate Affect Your Pregnancy
Heart palpitations or an increase in heart rate during pregnancy is usually a sign of a healthy pregnancy. This means that your body is working hard to ensure that your baby gets the oxygen and essential nutrients to develop healthily.
If your heart beats faster but it not accompanied by other serious symptoms, there is nothing to worry about. You must remember that this is a normal physiological response of your body.
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Treatment Of High Heart Rate During Pregnancy
At many future mothers the accelerated palpitation is a natural condition, caused by its present position. Especially the increase in the number of heart beats is inherent in the third, last, trimester of pregnancy, when the fetus is already formed and begins to gain weight. Load on the body of a woman increases, increases, respectively, and loading for the heart.
Therefore, first of all, what needs to be done to a woman who feels an increased pulse is to calm down, you can lie down on the sofa and rest a little. Sometimes such actions are enough to make the pulse normalize. Treatment of high heart rate during pregnancy in this case can be reduced to the adoption of a warm shower . A woman will be useful to do breathing exercises, while remembering some happy moments from her life. Embrace more positive emotions, trying to emotionally dissociate yourself from the unpleasant perception of the world.
No medication normalizing the rapid heart rate should be used alone – it can harm the baby. If the tachycardia is caused by emotional overexertion, the doctor will recommend drinking calming herbal teas. It can be valerian, melissa, mint or motherwort. In such a situation, sedatives, such as Persen, New Passit,
The usual dosage of the drug with increased nervousness and irritability is two to three wafers two to three times a day. The starting dose of the drug pregnant can be reduced. The maximum daily dosage should not exceed 12 tablets.
What Is The Recommended Weight Gain In Pregnancy
After nearly 20 years, the Institute of Medicine released guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy in 2009. The guidelines take into consideration the welfare of the infant and the health of the mother. Important variables to consider regarding weight gain recommendations include the presence of twin or triplet pregnancies, maternal age, and maternal prepregnancy weight. These variables can add to the burden of chronic disease for the mother and baby excessive weight gain is associated with an increased risk for gestational diabetes, pregnancy-associated hypertension, and delivery of large-for-gestational-age infants.
Guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy* are as follows:
Underweight women should gain 28-40 pounds.
Normal-weight women should gain 25-35 pounds.
Overweight women should gain 15-25 pounds.
Obese women should gain 11-20 pounds.
*Weight gain guidelines are for singleton pregnancy weight gain should be higher for multiple pregnancies but the ideal amounts are unknown.
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What Is A Target Heart Rate
Your heart rate is the speed at which your heart beats. It beats slower when you are resting and faster when you exercise. Because of this, you can use your heart rate to measure the intensity of your exercise. For every age group, there is a target heart rate. The target heart rate is the rate your heart beats during good aerobic exercise. By monitoring your heart rate and comparing it to your target range, you can determine whether you are exercising too hard or not hard enough. When you exercise, you should aim to reach your target heart rate and stay within that range for 20 to 30 minutes.
You can measure your own heart rate by taking your pulse. To do so, place your index and middle fingers on the wrist of your other hand, just below your thumb. You should be able to feel a pulse. Count the heartbeats for 60 seconds. The number you count is your heart rate, in beats per minute. You can also purchase a digital heart rate monitor to keep track of your heart rate for you.
You can find the target heart rate for your age from the American Heart Association website.
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Why Do Women Undergo Skin Pigmentation Changes During Pregnancy
Pigmentation changes are directly related to melanocyte-stimulating hormone elevations during pregnancy. Some evidence suggests that elevated estrogen and progesterone levels cause hyperpigmentation in women. This is typically evident in the nipples, umbilicus, axillae, perineum, and linea alba, which darkens enough to be considered a linea nigra. More than 90% of patients have skin darkening. Facial darkening, called melasma, is a diffuse macular facial hyperpigmentation. When melasma occurs as a result of pregnancy, it is known as chloasma. This is due to the pigment being deposited in the epidermis itself. The distribution is usually malar but can be central or mandibular. Ultraviolet light exposure intensifies melasma and appropriate sunscreen decreases the effect. Because it is related to the hormones of pregnancy, it lessens with delivery.
Other pigmentation changes, such as palmar erythema, pseudoacanthosis nigricans, vulvar or dermal melanocytosis, or postinflammatory hyperpigmentation secondary to specific dermatologic conditions of pregnancy, are fairly common as well.
See Diagnosing Dermatoses in Pregnant Patients: 8 Cases to Test Your Skills, a Critical Images slideshow, for help identifying several types of cutaneous eruptions associated with pregnancy.
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Cardiovascular Disorders That May Develop During Pregnancy
Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a rare condition. It is when heart failure develops in the last month of pregnancy or within five months after delivery. The cause of peripartum cardiomyopathy remains unknown. Certain patients, including those with multiple pregnancies and those of African descent, are at greatest risk. Women with peripartum cardiomyopathy have symptoms of heart failure. After pregnancy, the heart usually returns to its normal size and function. But, some women continue to have poor left ventricular function and symptoms. Women with peripartum cardiomyopathy have an increased risk of complications during future pregnancies, especially if the heart dysfunction continues.
About 6% to 8% of women develop high blood pressure, also called hypertension, during pregnancy. This is called pregnancy-induced hypertension and is related to preeclampsia, toxemia, or toxemia of pregnancy. Symptoms of PIH include high blood pressure, swelling due to fluid retention, and protein in the urine. Pregnancy-induced hypertension can be harmful to the mother and the baby. To learn more about who is at risk for PIH, symptoms of PIH, and how PIH is diagnosed and treated, click on the following links:
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What Is The Risk Of Mother
It is uncertain whether there is a risk of vertical mother-to-infant transmission of coronavirus disease . Limited data suggest no evidence of intrauterine infection caused by vertical transmission in women who developed COVID-19 pneumonia in late pregnancy. No data are available on perinatal outcome when the infection is acquired in the first and early second trimesters of pregnancy these pregnancies should be monitored carefully after recovery. Guidelines on COVID-19 infection control during pregnancy and the puerperium were released by the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Prognosis Of High Pulse In Pregnancy
Increased heart rate during gestation is an unpleasant but not dangerous symptomatology. A slightly increased pulse is a natural, physiologically grounded process of pregnancy. Therefore, the prognosis of high heart rate during pregnancy is very favorable. After childbirth, this problem will go away by itself, it is only necessary to follow the recommendations outlined above. In the case of a more severe pathology, the prognosis is just as good, it is necessary to stop the source and the symptomatology will disappear.
The waiting time of the child is a wonderful period in the life of every woman and so one does not want it to be overshadowed by discomfort and deterioration of the general condition. Therefore, in order to prevent or minimize the situation when there is a high pulse during pregnancy, you must follow all the recommendations voiced by the attending physician. And in case of aggravation of symptoms, without delay, seek help and advice from a specialist. After all, the health of the mother is the pledge of the birth of a normal, healthy baby!
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