Heart palpitations during pregnancy are not uncommon. Various causes are enumerated for this condition. These include increased blood volume, anxiety, hormonal alterations, medications, and underlying medical conditions. Although heart palpitations do not cause any harm to the fetus and mother, the woman should consult a doctor to rule out a serious medical condition. Various measures are utilized to reduce heart palpitations during pregnancy.
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Heart Palpitations During Pregnancy
The volume of blood is increased during pregnancy. This increase may be around 40-50%. There is an increase in heart rate to cater to this increased volume. This increased heart rate is felt by the women which, in medical terms, is known as heart palpitations. The heart rate is heard in the chest or throat. Women may also experience racing of the heart or skipping beats. In most of the cases, palpitations are normal and non-harmful to mother and the fetus. However, to avoid any complications, women should consult with her doctor to rule out any underlying medical condition.
Causes Of Heart Palpitations During Pregnancy
1. Stress And Anxiety
Getting pregnant and carrying a baby is not an easy task. Lots of emotions, with varying strength, keeps on fluctuating. Women may experience stress and anxiety which may cause heart palpitations.
2. Hormonal Changes
Pregnancy results in altering the level of various hormones inside the female body. The level of estrogen and testosterone considerably varies during pregnancy. This may also cause heart palpitations during pregnancy.
3. Change In Blood Volume
Blood volume increases during pregnancy. The heart has to beat faster and with more power to cater to the excess volume of blood. This results in heart palpitations during pregnancy.
4. Caffeine-Containing Products
Pregnant women should limit the intake of caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee, energy drinks, aerated soft drinks etc. This is because caffeine is known for increasing the heart rate that may result in heart palpitations during pregnancy. Alcohol, nicotine, and cocaine should also be avoided in pregnancy to avoid heart palpitations.
5. Underlying Medical Condition
Various underlying medical conditions could also be a possible reason for heart palpitations during pregnancy. Women who experience heart palpitation may have a thyroid disorder, hypotension, dehydration, anemia, and low blood sugar level.
6. Effect Of Certain Medications
Certain medications may also result in heart palpitations during pregnancy. Decongestants, diet pills, asthma inhalers and drugs to treat thyroid disorders may cause this symptom. Do not take a nutritional supplement or herbal drugs during pregnancy without consulting your doctor as these may also cause heart palpitations.
Symptoms associated with Heart Palpitations
In most cases, heart palpitations during early pregnancy do not cause any harm to the mother and fetus. However, this symptom may be due to a more severe underlying medical condition which may cause worry during the later stage of pregnancy or at the time of delivery. It is, thus, advised to ask your gynecologist if you experience the following symptoms;
- Difficulty in breathing
- Increased heart rate
- You feel like missing beats
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Feeling of discomfort
- Chest pain
- If you feel that your heart is flip-flipping and rapidly fluttering.
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Various risk factors increase the incidences of heart palpitations during pregnancy. Some are psychological and others are related to underlying medical conditions. Following are some of the factors that increase the risk of heart palpitations during pregnancy.
1. Stress and anxiety
Increased stress and anxiety during pregnancy increases the risk of heart palpitations. The stress and anxiety may be due to hormonal alterations or due to any other reason.
Various medications such as decongestants, diet pills, and asthma inhalers increase the risk of heart palpitations.
3. Underlying medical conditions
Various underlying medical conditions such as anemia, low sugar levels, and thyroid disorders increases the risk of heart palpitations in pregnant women.
How To Stop Heart Palpitations During Pregnancy?
The doctor will try to identify the exact cause of heart palpitations. For this, various tests are conducted primarily to rule out the presence of any cardiac disorder. Heart palpitations are not a cause of concern once the cardiac diseases are ruled out. In such cases, it does not require any treatment. However, you may avoid triggers that may lead to heart palpitations through various measures. Following are some of the measures to reduce heart palpitations during pregnancy.
Dehydration may occur during pregnancy which may result in heart palpitations. Women should drink sufficient amount of water to keep themselves hydrated.
Women should learn to control emotions during pregnancy. Yoga and meditations are the best ways to control stress and anxiety.
Avoid any physical exertion and take sufficient rest. Heart palpitations may reduce once you lie down on the bed.
Avoid Caffeinated Drinks
Avoid caffeinated drinks as these may increase heart rate causing heart palpitations.
Consult The Doctor Before Taking Any Medications
You should not take any medications without taking medical opinion from your doctor as this may cause heart palpitations.
Medically Reviewed By
Rohit Jain is an IPR Specialist and Medical Content Writing Expert. For over a decade, he has written several articles in the areas of female infertility, Erectile dysfunction, hemangioma, cervical cancer, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, mononucleosis, mitral valve disorder, shin splints, mild cognitive impairment, cellulitis, lymphoma, sepsis, cardiac rehabilitation and more.