Heart Palpitations Early Pregnancy
Your body changes a lot during pregnancy. In general, you notice most of these differences, however, some others are not so noticeable. One of these examples is extra blood in your body, which results in your heart rate increasing by nearly 25 percent.
Therefore, you may experience heart palpitations during early pregnancy, which feels like your heart is beating extremely fast. Heart palpitations are one of the early pregnancy signs and can be normal, and harmless. However, it may also indicate a serious underlying health issue. This article covers everything you need to know about heart palpitations while pregnant.
Are heart palpitations during early pregnancy a cause for concern?
Most heart palpitations in early pregnancy are not a cause for concern and are a natural response to increased blood flow as your body adjusts to pregnancy. However, it’s important to inform your healthcare provider about any palpitations, particularly if they occur frequently. While usually harmless, in rare instances, palpitations can be a sign of a more serious condition needing medical attention.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Your Heart?
During the development of your baby, the heart has a lot of work to do. The blood supply must be enough to provide your with baby a required amount of blood to support his growth. During the third trimester, nearly 20 percent of all your body’s blood will be traveling toward your uterus. And since your body has more blood than usual now, the heart must work harder than normal to move this blood through. In fact, pregnant women can expect their heart rate to increase by 20 extra beats per minute due to increase in blood volume.
Blood vessels in your body start to expand and get bigger when you are in the second trimester of pregnancy. This, in turn, gradually decreases the blood pressure. When the heart has to put an extra effort to deliver blood throughout the body during pregnancy, this may result in certain abnormalities, and one of them is called heart palpitations.
What Are The Main Symptoms Of Heart Palpitations?
Not all women experience heart palpitations in the same way. For some women it feels lightheaded while their heart is pounding particularly hard. On the other hand, other women, may feel as if their hearts are flip-flopping in the chest.
No matter what your symptoms are, heart palpitations during pregnancy are caused by many factors. Some of these factors are:
- Anxiety or stress
- Effects of increased blood volume in the body
- Certain foods or drinks which contains caffeine
- Some cold and allergy medicines which contain substances like pseudoephedrine
- Having a heart disorder, like underlying pulmonary hypertension
- Heart problems caused by the previous pregnancy
- Other medical conditions, such as thyroid disease
In some cases, it is hard to determine underlying heart disorder while being pregnant. This is mainly because one may have the symptoms of a heart disorder, when in fact they are merely pregnancy-related. Some of the examples of these are swelling, shortness of breath, as well as fatigue.
Do I Need To Call Doctor?
As soon as your pregnancy is confirmed, you will get an appointment with your GP or midwife. As your due date gets near, your appointments will also become more frequent. However, if you experience heart palpitations very frequently, and if you realize that they take too long to settle down and are getting intense, then you must consult your doctor.
Should you experience some of the following symptoms, please contact your doctor immediately:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Chest pain
- Rapid heart rate
- Irregular heart rate
- Shortness in breath
How To Stop Heart Palpitations During Pregnancy?
Palpitations are among the earliest symptoms of pregnancy, and here are a few ways to help manage them.
1. Reduce stress
Generally, stress not only can trigger heart palpitations but also can worsen the condition. This is mainly because stress and excitement trigger an adrenalin spike, which increases the heart rate. However, you can manage your stress through relaxing techniques such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, etc.
Sit in a cross-legged position, and take a slow breath through your nose and then release through your mouth. You should repeat this until you get calm. It is also a good idea to try relaxation techniques not only when you feel palpitations, but also throughout the day, whenever possible. It’s a very simple way to get you and your mind relaxed. Just stop what you are doing and take 4-5 deep, slow breaths. Keep in mind that, if you keep your stress levels as low as possible during the day, you won’t need to do a lot to deal with heart palpitations, since your resting heart rate will already be low enough naturally.
2. Keep yourself hydrated
One of the reasons for heart palpitations is dehydration. When you don’t drink enough fluid, your blood becomes thicker. As a result, your heart has to work harder than usual to be able to move the blood through your veins, which can spike your pulse and can result in heart palpitations. So, one of the ways to deal with palpitations can be simply drinking a glass of water. You can also determine whether you are hydrated enough by the color of your urine. The more dehydrated you are, the darker your urine will become.
3. Keep your electrolytes in balance
Electrolytes facilitate electrical signals that are vital for a proper heart function. The following electrolytes may help your heart health and keep the heart rate steady:
You get most of these elements from the foods you eat. Some of the best sources of potassium are spinach, bananas, and sweet potatoes. Calcium can be consumed through dairy products, dark leafy greens in sufficient amounts. There are also lots of magnesium in dark leafy greens, along with nuts and fish. Sodium is one of the easiest consumed minerals which comes in most of the packaged foods and canned soups.
You can also benefit from supplements for keeping your electrolyte balance optimal, however, consulting your doctor prior to using them would be a good idea. Your doctor can tell you whether you need any supplements by testing for an electrolyte imbalance.
4. Don’t consume any stimulants
A fast heartbeat can be caused by many substances. The best way to avoid heart palpitations during pregnancy is to lessen or even stop the intake of certain products, such as tobacco and caffeinated foods and beverages. Some stimulant medications used for treating high blood pressure, ADHD should also be avoided.
Every pregnant woman will have unique triggers that may be causing palpitations. Therefore, try to note down your particular causes and avoid them while you are pregnant. You can also advise your doctor to see how to stay away from certain medications that might be causing your heart to beat fast.
Can heart palpitations be related to early pregnancy twins?
As we have already mentioned above, there is an increase in the basal metabolic rate during pregnancy. For instance, if your normal resting heart rate is around 70 BPM, it can increase to 80 to 100 BPM in pregnant women.
If you are due to twins, then the heart rate can even be faster. Your doctor may diagnose you with tachycardia if your heart rate increases more than 100 BPM. Although this is quite normal and there is nothing to worry about, this should be always kept under the control of your midwife or doctor.
With pregnancy, you will feel that your heart starts racing from time to time. Although you can’t necessarily stop heart palpitations completely, by applying some useful techniques above you can reduce daily stress in your life.
Never let your body go hungry for a long time, and try eating small, well-balanced, nutrition-rich meals. Try meditation, deep-breathing, and yoga. Don’t stay in environments where stress is particularly high, such as loud concerts, busy streets, etc. Consuming herbal tea, such as chamomile or lavender will also help.
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