Heart palpitation can be defined as a strongly beating heart or a heart which is beating at an abnormally rapid speed. Many women experience heart palpitations during pregnancy, along with other symptoms such as headache, dizziness, gas, bloating, constipation, etc. These palpitations are not only restricted to the heart as pregnant women are known to experience them in their throat and neck as well, giving them a general feeling of being ill.
What Causes Heart Palpitations
Frequent heart palpitations could be due to stress that the pregnant woman is going through. There are so many hormonal and bodily changes that a woman goes through that stress have become a common occurrence during pregnancy. When a woman is stressed, her blood pressure increases, making the heartbeat rapid, thus causing palpitations in the process.
Changes in the Body
When a woman is pregnant, lots of changes take place in her body. For instance, the heart has to pump up to fifty percent more blood than normal to take care of both the mother’s and the foetus needs. This causes stress on the heart, resulting in changes in the heartbeat. Secondly, during pregnancy, the levels of progesterone in the body increase. This hormone is responsible for making the heartbeat harder so that sufficient amounts of blood can reach the uterus. This too causes the woman to experience palpitations.
Excessive Intake of Caffeine
If the pregnant woman takes tea and coffee in excess, these beverages can cause an accelerated heart rate. Caffeine is known to produce symptoms similar to an anxiety attack, thus, causing palpitations in a pregnant woman when consumed in excess.
All women are recommended to undertake pregnancy exercises. If they are done in excess or if the woman is constantly involved in some sort of physical activities, she might feel physically fatigued, thus producing symptoms, such as, dizziness and heart palpitations.
Anaemia is caused due to the deficiency of haemoglobin in the body. Haemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells, and adequate amount of iron in the body is very essential to manufacture it. When a woman is pregnant, the amount of blood almost doubles in her body. In order to make haemoglobin for this excess blood, the body needs excess iron too. If the demand of iron is not fulfilled, one may become anaemic and this might produce heart palpitations in her.
A deficiency of magnesium in the diet can cause heart palpitations during pregnancy too. Most diets are magnesium deficit. A woman suffering from magnesium deficiency produces symptoms such as vomiting and morning sickness.
Prevention and Treatment
Anaemia Induced Palpitations
In order to prevent heart palpitations caused due to anaemia, a diet rich in iron and vitamin C should be taken. Some of the foods rich in iron, which can treat anaemia in pregnancy are, red meat, raisins, apricots, prunes, green leafy vegetables, eggs and liver.
Magnesium Deficiency Induced Palpitations
For treating magnesium deficiency related palpitations, including foods high in magnesium, such as legumes, nuts, wheat bran and green vegetables will benefit.
Stress Related Palpitations
For dealing with stress, breathing exercises, prenatal yoga, massages, aromatherapy, meditation and listening to music are recommended.
Medication Induced Palpitations
If it is due to some medicine, then replacing the medicine with some more suitable medication will minimise them. Adequate rest, eight hours of sleep, refraining from caffeine, can also cure this.
In most cases, heart palpitations during pregnancy are quite normal. However, if along with them other symptoms such as shortness of breath, excessive sweating, dizziness, chest pain and fainting are also experienced, then it is not a normal condition. In such a scenario, visit your gynaecologist immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.