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 Does Your Heart Rate Increase With Pregnancy And When
During pregnancy, your blood volume dramatically increases in order to provide more blood flow to the placenta, through which your growing baby receives oxygen and nutrients. Your heart has to pump harder and faster to ensure proper circulation. The amount of blood pumped is called the cardiac output, and it increases by 30% to 50% during pregnancy, Dr. Felice Gersh MD, OB-GYN, tells Romper.
The increase in your heart rate is typically measurable early in pregnancy during the first trimester, and as early as the first month youre pregnant, adds Gersh.
Having heart palpitations are completely normal during pregnancy, as well. Fluttering, irregular heart rate, and pounding are common symptoms as your body is handling all this increased blood flow, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Abnormal Fetal Heart Rate
Sometimes a fetal heart rate is outside the normal range simply because the fetus is moving around. Other times, it indicates a health concern for the baby. When the healthcare team detects a possible problem, their first step will be to try to find the cause.
Depending on the stage of pregnancy, different tests will be used to clarify the problem. Sometimes, a fetal heart rate is abnormal because of something happening in the mothers body. These are called maternal causes and may include:
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Why Might I Need Fetal Heart Monitoring
Fetal heart rate monitoring is especially helpful if you have a high-riskpregnancy. Your pregnancy is high risk if you have diabetes or high bloodpressure. It is also high risk if your baby is not developing or growing asit should.
Fetal heart rate monitoring may be used to check how preterm labormedicines are affecting your baby. These are medicines are used to helpkeep labor from starting too early.
Fetal heart rate monitoring may be used in other tests, including:
- Nonstress test. This measures the fetal heart rate as your baby moves.
- Contraction stress test. This measures fetal heart rate along with uterine contractions. Contractions are started with medicine or other methods.
- A biophysical profile. This test combines a nonstress test with ultrasound.
Things that may affect the fetal heart rate during labor:
- Uterine contractions
- Pushing during the second stage of labor
Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to use fetal heart ratemonitoring.
Pregnancy Sleep: Disturbances And Dehydration
When preparing for a child, you definitely hear about the lack of sleep you can expect once the baby arrives. However, what you dont hear about as often is the sleep disruption you can expect throughout your pregnancy. My WHOOP data displayed quite a shift in my sleep patterns, especially during the first and third trimesters:
Nausea, hormones, and discomfort as you grow in size all contribute to sleep disruptions throughout the night. But I found that dehydration also played a part in my decreasing sleep quality. As your body mass increases, it becomes harder to regulate body temperature and meet your hydration requirement needs. In fact, most pregnant women do not reach these hydration needs.
My best bet became monitoring my water intake throughout the day, and moving all of my workouts indoors and into air conditioning. Pregnancy alone can lead to dehydration and sleep disturbances. A pregnancy with a third trimester during the summer makes that even harder. Then add a pregnancy during a global pandemic where masks are constantly required, and you can understand why it might be difficult to maintain hydration.
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When Does My Heart Rate Go Back To Normal After Pregnancy
Labor and delivery add to your heart’s workload, too. During labor particularly when you push you’ll have abrupt changes in blood flow and pressure, according to The Mayo Clinic. It takes several weeks after delivery for the stresses on the heart to return to the levels they were before you became pregnant. Gersh says it can take as long as a month.
So dont worry, having an elevated heart rate is pretty typical with pregnancy. Obviously call your healthcare provider if youre concerned, but dont add onto the heart palpitations and elevated heart rate by having a panic attack like me. Your heart rate will go back to normal around a month after youve had the baby.
Normal Fetal Heart Rate During Pregnancy
Brian Levine, MD, MS, is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology as well as in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin
How do you know if your babys heart rate is normal? This is a question that you probably have from the first time you hear your babys heartbeat. What you hear might really surprise you. Most people are not prepared for how quickly a babys heart beats in pregnancy.
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Guideline To Hcg Levels During Pregnancy:
hCG levels in weeks from LMP * :
- 3 weeks LMP: 5 50 mIU/ml
- 4 weeks LMP: 5 426 mIU/ml
- 5 weeks LMP: 18 7,340 mIU/ml
- 6 weeks LMP: 1,080 56,500 mIU/ml
- 7 8 weeks LMP: 7,650 229,000 mIU/ml
- 9 12 weeks LMP: 25,700 288,000 mIU/ml
- 13 16 weeks LMP: 13,300 254,000 mIU/ml
- 17 24 weeks LMP: 4,060 165,400 mIU/ml
- 25 40 weeks LMP: 3,640 117,000 mIU/ml
- Non-pregnant females:
Heart Rate In Training
Since physical exercises have different degrees of intensity, it is also necessary to calculate the normal pulse in an adult during training, taking into account individual characteristics and type of load.
With little physical activity, your heart rate calculation will look like this.
With vigorous or high activity , the count will be slightly different. The upper limit of the heart rate is calculated in the same way, but the next two indicators are calculated differently.
If we summarize all the calculations, then the normal pulse of a healthy person during adequate physical activity should not go beyond 50-85% of the upper limit of the heart rate.
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A Healthy Diet To Regularise Pulse Rate
On an average, pregnant women are recommended to consume about 2,200 – 2,900 calories daily. Of course, this figure varies as per a womans body shape, weight, size, and dietary preferences. Hence, make sure to consult your gynaecologist regarding the perfect diet for you. Eating protein-rich foods, fruits and vegetables is always a good idea.
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Heart rate / heart beat
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How Do Providers Treat Heart Palpitations During Pregnancy
Most of the time, heart palpitations during pregnancy dont require treatment. If they only happen occasionally and dont result from a heart condition or other health problem, your provider may recommend diet and lifestyle changes. These include:
- Drinking plenty of water: Its essential to stay hydrated while youre pregnant. Your body needs extra fluids to help you and your fetus stay healthy. Avoid alcohol and nicotine during pregnancy. Smoking and drinking alcohol can harm your fetus and increase the risk of heart palpitations.
- Limiting caffeine, sugar and fat: Coffee and chocolate can make heart palpitations worse. Stick to one cup of coffee a day, and eat chocolate and other sugary or caffeinated foods in moderation. Limit foods that are high in fat or sodium .
- Trying relaxation techniques: If youre having heart palpitations, take long, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. You can also use pursed lip breathing techniques and meditation.
If you have a heart condition or other health condition thats causing palpitations, your provider will develop a treatment plan thats safe for you and your fetus. Treatments vary depending on the cause.
Sometimes, providers prescribe a type of medicine called beta blockers to treat palpitations. Your provider will discuss this medication and any other treatments with you. They will help you weigh the benefits of treatments and risks of side effects that might affect your fetus.
Heart Palpitations During Pregnancy: A Common Complaint
Heart palpitations arent necessarily cause for concern. Dr. Mudd says they are fairly common during pregnancy: Palpitations are an unpleasant sensation of the forceful, rapid or irregular beating of the heart. They may feel like fluttering or pounding in the chest. She says that as long as they are infrequent and short-lived, heart palpitations are not a problem, but if a patient is concerned or worried, they should always consult with their obstetrician.
There are a few reasons why pregnant women might experience heart palpitations, including anxiety, the consumption of caffeine or drugs, heart problems like arrhythmia, or other underlying heart conditions. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or the palpitations are frequent or prolonged, you should seek medical attention, advises Dr. Mudd.
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Heart Disease: The Leading Cause Of Maternal Death
The leading cause of death in pregnant women and women in the postpartum periodis cardiovascular disease, says , an OB-GYN practicing at Hoffman and Associates in Baltimore, Maryland.Heart disease contributes to 26.5% of maternal deaths, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. While pre-existing heart conditions are a risk factor, the most common concern is the acquired heart conditions that sometimes develop silently.
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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Cardiovascular Adaptations During Normal Pregnancy
A variety of changes in the cardiovascular system occur during normal pregnancy, including increases in cardiac output, arterial compliance, and extracellular fluid volume and decreases in blood pressure and total peripheral resistance.1 Mean BP gradually falls during pregnancy, with the largest decrease in BP typically occurring at 16 to 20 weeks.2 BP then begins to rise during the mid-third trimester to levels approaching prepregnancy BP values . The decrease in BP during pregnancy is characterized by decreases in both systolic BP and diastolic BP with the decrements in DBP exceeding those in SBP.
Mean arterial pressure in women during normal pregnancy .
Changes in cardiac output, stroke volume, and heart rate during pregnancy .
The increased cardiac output and slight decrease in BP during pregnancy is associated with a marked reduction in systemic vascular resistance.4 Total peripheral resistance decreases very early during pregnancy and continues to decrease throughout the second and third trimester, although to a lesser extent near term . Arterial compliance also changes dramatically during pregnancy. Arterial compliance increases during the first trimester and remains elevated throughout the remainder of pregnancy. Thus, both steady and pulsatile afterload decreases occur during normal pregnancy in humans.
Changes in total vascular resistance and arterial compliance during normal pregnancy .
Causes Of High Heart Rate During Pregnancy
In addition to the physiological factors, several other possible aspects can cause a rapid heartbeat. Some of them include:
- Changes in heart and blood flow: Your uterus requires more blood to supply enough oxygen and nutrients for the babys growth and development. As a result, your heart pumps around 30 to 50% more blood than usual . Therefore, the normal heartbeat, which is 60bpm to 80bpm, increases by 10bpm to 20bpm throughout pregnancy, and reaches the maximum around the third trimester .
- Anxiety: It is normal to worry about your baby and your safety during delivery, and about the overall responsibility of carrying another life. Anxiety might cause an increased heartbeat .
- Changes in the uterus size: The uterus increases in size to hold the growing fetus, and requires more blood supply for it . This leads to the heart working or beating more than usual to pump the extra blood to the uterus.
- Changing breasts: The mammary glands start to function while you are still pregnant and prepare the body for breastfeeding. As the breasts expand and the tissues enlarge, the mammary blood flow also increases, which means the heart has to pump more blood than usual .
- Medical conditions: Thyroid disorders , anemia , preeclampsia , and heart issues such as coronary heart disease and pulmonary hypertension could also stimulate heartbeat during pregnancy .
- Lifestyle factors: Cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, exercise, and over-consumption of caffeine might also increase the heart rate.
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How To Get Heart Rate Into A Normal Range
People whose heart rate falls outside their normal range should focus on why this happens, rather than trying to reach a particular number of BPM. Talk to a doctor before trying to change the heart rate.
In general, a healthful lifestyle may help a person remain healthy during pregnancy and can support a normal heart rate.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Palpitations During Pregnancy
Symptoms of heart palpitations include:
- Fluttering: Some people describe sensing a flapping or fluttery feeling in their chest. Your heart may feel like its doing flips.
- Irregular heart rate: It might feel like your heart skips a beat, its beating out of rhythm, or speeding up and slowing down. It can also seem like your heart stops for a second or two.
- Pounding: You might feel like your heart is beating forcefully or very hard. Some people who feel their heart pounding say they can hear it beating in their ears.
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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.
Exercise To Regularise Pulse Rate
For obvious reasons, pregnant women cannot have a strict, rigorous exercise regimen. However, light aerobic exercise lasting about 150 minutes per week is an excellent way to make a pregnant womans pulse rate stable. Even walking and swimming movements that are therapeutic as well as good for your body will help.
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When Is Sex Determined
Your babys sex is set as soon as the sperm meets the egg. Sex is determined at conception, before you even know youre pregnant. The genitals wont develop for some time, but your little one inherits either an X or Y chromosome.
In most cases, little girls carry an XX pattern of genetic information, while little boys carry an XY.
You might also be surprised to learn that your babys genitals dont develop immediately. In fact, boys and girls look relatively the same four to six weeks after gestation. They start to differ between 10 and 20 weeks.
Diagnosis Of Increased Heart Rate During Pregnancy
Your doctor will conduct a series of tests to ensure that both you and your baby are in the prime of health. He will also review your medical history. If you have experienced this problem before, you should inform your doctor about it. The doctor will determine the cause of increased heart rate through an EKG or ECG that measures changes in the blood flow and heart rate.
Basis the results, the doctor will most likely suggest you to follow a healthy diet and indulge in light exercises. This will keep your weight in check and will also prevent additional pressure on the heart.
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