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Heart Palpitations And Pregnancy

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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Martin Fox, MBBS, FRACGP, DRCOG on June 17, 2019

General Practice News Womens Health

Pregnant Women

A woman’s body undergoes many physical, hormonal, as well as psychological changes during the nine months of the pregnancy. Some of these changes are quite noticeable such as an expanding belly, weight gain, tender and swollen breasts, aches or discomfort. Some other issues are not that noticeable but can still create issues.

Increase in blood volume during pregnancy is one such change that is rarely noticed, but it can lead to faster resting heart rate as the heart has to work hard to circulate the extra blood. This extra exertion on the heart can sometimes lead to heart palpitations during pregnancy. So what are heart palpitations and what causes them during pregnancy?

Heart Palpitations And Pregnancy

What Are Heart Palpitations?

Heart palpitation refers to an abnormal heartbeat; it can be irregular, slow, fast, or too frequent. The duration and intensity of heart palpitations may differ from person to person and can range from a few seconds to several hours. The good news is that heart palpitations during pregnancy is typically harmless; however, it can be disconcerting since usually, it is unnoticed. Heart palpitations during pregnancy sometimes may be indicative of some underlying medical complications, therefore it is always a good idea to check with your doctor to rule out any future issues.

What Causes Heart Palpitations during Pregnancy?

Irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations are often considered a normal part of the pregnancy process. However, if you experience chest pain or difficulty in breathing, it can be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition that demands a thorough medical checkup.

Harmless Causes of Heart Palpitations during pregnancy

It is important to note that not all the causes of heart palpitation during pregnancy are dangerous. Following are some of the harmless causes of irregular heartbeat during pregnancy:

  • anxiety & stress
  • increase blood volume
  • reaction to certain medications
  • reaction to some food items
  • hormonal changes

Some serious causes of Heart Palpitation during pregnancy

Here is a list of some more serious causes of irregular heartbeat during pregnancy:

  • heart arrhythmia
  • preeclampsia
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • thyroid problems (experts like LifeNet Health can help you understand this)
  • coronary artery diseases

According to my sources, if you experience any of the following symptoms along with irregular heartbeat during your pregnancy, you need to make sure that you seek immediate medical help from a gynecology physician who can provide excellent gynecology services:

  • an irregular pulse
  • intense pain in the chest
  • a bloody cough
  • trouble breathing