Fast Heartbeat During Pregnancy

Fast heartbeat during pregnancy

Be it physical, mental or emotional, your body goes through several changes during pregnancy and among these, a change in your heart rate due to larger cardiovascular changes is quite common. However, in many instances this common seeming change can actually be a cause for concern, more so if it is sudden. A sudden increase in heartbeat rate during pregnancy could be indicative of a more serious underlying cause.

Is It Normal To Have High Heart Rate When Pregnant?

The normal heart rate per minute for a healthy person is between 60 to 80. However, during pregnancy, it is quite common for this rate to increase up to 100. An increased heart rate is called tachycardia and is a common occurrence during pregnancy.

Your body is constantly working hard to help nourish your growing baby. As your pregnancy progresses, the amount of blood required by your baby increases and to suffice this requirement, your heart also beats faster to pump more blood into the system.

Causes of High Pulse Rate During Pregnancy

There are many reasons for you to feel heart palpitations during pregnancy apart from the normal physiological reason of nourishing your baby. Some of these include:

  • Anxiety factors: Anxiety caused by the pregnancy or when worried about the baby’s health.
  • Change in the size of the uterus: The increase in the size of the uterus diverts most of your blood to it. In fact, towards the end of your pregnancy about 20% of your blood gets supplied to the uterus. This means extra work for your heart and could add pressure to it,
  • Breasts prepare for their function: During and after pregnancy, your mammary glands prepare for their role of feeding your little one. In order to prepare itself, the breast tissues enlarge and therefore require extra blood supply in the region.
  • Changes in nutrient levels: Complications of the thyroid or a drop in iron levels can also increase the heart rate.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes and weight gain can cause tachycardia in early pregnancy.

Symptoms of High Heartbeat During Pregnancy

You might face or experience several other symptoms along with a higher heart rate which also means a higher pulse rate than usual during your pregnancy. Some of them include:

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is best that you bring it to your doctor’s notice so that she can rule out other causes and verify that they are normal pregnancy-related changes.

Diagnosing Increased Heart Rate in Pregnant Women

Your doctor will run a series of tests to ensure that both you and your baby are in the prime of health. The best way to diagnose any underlying cause of increased heart rate is through an EKG that mechanically measures changes in blood flow and heartbeat rates.

cardiologist with pregnant woman 

Basis the results, your doctor should recommend you a good diet along with healthy exercises that will keep your weight in check and will also prevent in putting additional pressure on the heart.

Elevated Heart Rate Trimester Wise

Cardiovascular functions serve a number of purposes during pregnancy. Apart from aiding the development of the foetus, it also has an impact on the mother’s physiological and metabolic functions. However, depending on the stage of pregnancy, your heart’s way of functioning also varies.

1. First Trimester

During the first trimester, it is normal for your heart rate to increase by 15 to 20 beats per minute. The increase in heart rate during this trimester is usually caused by an increase in hormone levels, specifically that of progesterone and estrogen. This is to signal your heart that it must provide more blood for the developing foetus.

2. Second Trimester

In this phase, your body will see a general relaxation of the smooth muscles along with dilation of the arteries to accommodate the increase in blood volume. These changes will ensure that your blood pressure stays normal while also increasing your heart rate. During the fourth month, your heart will be pumping up to 30 to 50% more blood than usual.

3. Third Trimester

During the last trimester, your heart will not be at its peak of pumping blood. It will pump 40% to 90% more blood than it did in your pre-pregnancy days. This is to ensure that the rapidly growing foetus receives all the oxygen and nutrients it requires. It also prepares your body for labour during which your heart rate will spike due to the contractions and pain.

Does Accelerated Heart Rate Cause Any Harm to Pregnancy?

Feeling fast heartbeat during pregnancy is usually a good sign of a healthy pregnancy. This means that your body is working hard to ensure that your baby is getting all the oxygen and nutrients it requires to develop healthily.

When the accelerated heart rate occurs alone with no other serious symptoms, there is nothing to worry about and you must remember that this is a normal physiological response of your body.

How to Deal With Increased Heart Rate When Pregnant?

Though increased heart is usually normal, it is best to adapt to certain lifestyle changes that will ensure good health for you and your baby. If the cause something serious, your doctor will also prescribe the course of treatment and precautions.

1. Treatment

While there are many drugs that help with tachycardia, it is best not to use them while you are pregnant. Some of these medicines could hamper your baby’s development. Also, ensure you consult your doctor regarding this as well.

2. Self-Help Remedies

Pregnant woman drinking chamomile tea

Making sure that you are calm is one of the best remedies if you are experiencing a fast heartbeat during pregnancy. Drinking moderate amounts of chamomile tea or aromatherapy with lavender can go a long way in calming your emotions.

Make sure that you are getting enough sleep with regular sleep patterns that remain undisturbed. Yoga and meditation are also options for you to explore but be sure to clarify with your doctor before trying anything.

Warning Signal

When there is a sudden increase in heartbeat rate during pregnancy that is accompanied by the other symptoms mentioned above, it could be a sign of other, more serious, heart conditions that you were unaware of previously. Make sure that you seek immediate medical help if you experience one or more symptoms along with an increase in heart rate.

An increase in heart rate during your pregnancy is a common and physiological development of your naturally changing body. Ensure that you get enough rest and do not stress during this time. Have an honest and open conversation with your doctor regarding any fears during your pregnancy.

Also Read: Listening to Foetal Heartbeat during Pregnancy