Written by Pradeep
Tachycardia during pregnancy refers to the condition of having a heart rate above ‘normal.’ A heart rate above 100 beats per minute (BPM) during pregnancy is termed tachycardia. Since a pregnant woman’s heart works harder than normal, the heart rate increases by 10-20 beats per minute. This cause palpitations in many women during pregnancy.
Think about it, and an increased heart rate is actually perfectly natural during the term. The symptoms of tachycardia during pregnancy include chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. In difficult situations, the pregnant mother may faint or experience numbness.
In the 40 weeks of pregnancy, a woman’s heart has to work harder to cope with the physical changes and thus can be stressed. The following reasons justify why there is absolutely no need to panic on experiencing a slightly ‘above the limit’ heartbeat.
Doctors usually classify the normal condition under gestational Supra-Ventricular Tachycardia (SVT).
Stress, Anxiety, and Fear:
Hormonal changes, expanding uterus, growing baby, increase in blood vessels, and other changes in the body cause stress to the heart. It can cause tachycardia during pregnancy. Expectant mothers also quite naturally feel a constant sense of dread about the safety of the baby and herself. The psychological tumult can definitely manifest as panic attacks and anxiety.
Your body has to adapt to various changes demanding an increased output from the heart. Besides setting the heartbeat of your growing fetus, your heart also has to meet the needs of replenishing the changing body.
Tachycardia for pregnant women can be quite a normal condition. However, you need to understand the difference between both types:
This type of tachycardia during pregnancy occurs when the higher rate beat originates from the sinus node, commonly known as the heart’s natural pacemaker. Sinus tachycardia can be appropriate or inappropriate and is quite common in pregnant women.
Non-sinus tachycardia originates in the chambers of the heart. It is divided as supraventricular (tachycardia during pregnancy that originates from the upper chambers of the heart) and ventricular (tachycardia that originates from the lower chambers of the heart). Though sinus tachycardia is more common, yet it is imperative to get yourself diagnosed by your doctor.
Palpitations, chest pain, breathlessness, fatigue, etc. are some common indicators that your heart is beating faster. A high heart rate in pregnancy can also cause the woman to faint, feel dizzy, making her extensively anxious. Some women, in severe cases, also become intolerant to everything.
When the symptoms of tachycardia during pregnancy are mild and are not caused by a serious underlying condition, the doctor will usually advise against treatment.
On the other hand, if the symptoms of tachycardia during pregnancy are severe, then:
Please understand that pregnancy is the most extensive responsibility undertaken by a human body. It is complex, and the conditions vary uniquely from one woman to another. You can definitely consult the doctor if you are facing any of the symptoms of tachycardia.
In fact, tests will show the baby’s heart rate to be completely normal even when the mother is experiencing an increased heartbeat. Most of the time, the palpitations soon cease by themselves, and you find relief. Never take OTC medications on your own. Some of these OTC drugs can cause birth defects in the fetus.
Many serious complications are associated with tachycardia during pregnancy. Major complications are:
In fact, an overdose or allergic reaction to prenatal vitamins can also induce stress on the heart. Underlying lung and heart conditions can also become conspicuous during the term. The doctor will do her best to ensure the safety of the mother and the baby, under the unique conditions of the patient.
Yes, there are medications for tachycardia. However, do remember that pills are drugs – and may not be safe for you or your baby. Do not simply buy over the counter medicines! Take the medicines only recommended by the doctors.
Most cases of Supraventricular tachycardia seen during pregnancy are harmless and may not need any treatment. It is very important to get yourself properly checked by the doctor and never, ever self-medicate.
Pregnancy causes the heart rate to increase in most women. Sinus tachycardia is very common among pregnant women. However, sustained tachycardia is not so common.
It can start anytime in your pregnancy. It depends on your body. however, it commonly starts in the 3rd trimester when the stress on the heart increases.
Yes, tachycardia during pregnancy will mostly resolve itself after you delivery. When your heart does not have to do all the extra work to support another life, it returns back to normal. If in case it persists, you doctor will prescribe medications.
Yes, vaginal delivery is possible with tachycardia during pregnancy. However, the doctor has to be well experienced in such cases and the hospital must be well equipped to handle emergencies. Many doctors suggest a cesarean delivery to avoid risks.