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Tachycardia during pregnancy

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm wondering about tachycardia in pregnancy...I am 36 weeks & had an episode of tachycardia tonight that lasted about 25 minutes (I tried the Valsalva maneuver & carotid sinus pressure, but neither stopped it - it really just stopped on it's own)

My history....this has been a completely normal pregnancy (my 2nd, 1st preg was also normal with no episodes of tachycardia), though right now I've had a pretty good cold for the past 3 days that I caught from DS. Was just laying in bed (on my right side) watching tv while DS was sleeping when the tachycardia occured.

I haven't had this happen in about 10 years. As a child of about 8 or 9 y.o. I was dagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome after an episode of tachycardia and had infrequent repeat episodes over the years (often stress-related or when drinking a lot of caffine in college). The Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome was never actually "confirmed", as they were never able to document it after many ECG's & wearing a Holter monitor a few times.

Anyway, I saw a cardiologist a few years ago before pregnancy #1, and again, he could not find anything, I hadn't had an episode in 8 or so years and he told me I'd most likely outgrown it & not to worry about it.

So do I need to go to the hospital to get checked out? Baby seems to be moving as normal. I am planning a homebirth VBAC and am so upset to think that this may affect that. Anything else this could be a symptom of?
post #2 of 11
I've been wondering the same thing, I've been having episodes (uaually daily) for about a month now. For about a year, up until a month before I got pg I was having trouble with PVC's (premature ventricular contractions). I went to an M.D. who told me it was "common" and that they don't know what causes it. It was relieved by Chiropractic care. I'm also really short of breath a lot since I got pg, which did not happen with my last pg, and heard on here that it's caused by hormones... so I just figured maybe the tachycardia was hormonally induced? I do notice it more when I eat sugar, as well as the SOB. Think I'm gonna ask my mw next month just to be sure... hope someone has some good info!
post #3 of 11
I've also been getting this throughout this pregnancy (along with being very short of breath)

My normal resting heartbeat is around 60bpm
I haven't ever counted to see what it is when it is racing, but it feels so awful.
I have never had it last for 25 minutes--maybe 10 at the most. I think I would be concerned about the length of time--since it affects blood flow and pressure and whatnot.

My blood pressure has been really low this pg (I'm 21.5 weeks now). My normal is 120/60 and so far each check it has been 90/50 (yes, barely alive :P)
I've been wondering if that was related.

My midwife doesn't seem concerned about any of it though

Oh--and I've found that taking some Rescue Remedy helps
Especially since I feel really panicked when my heart races....
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. I never even thought of using the Rescue Remedy I have on hand!!

I did call my midwife and she told me not to worry about it. Ususally from the increased blood volume in pregnancy, plus the decreased space for your lungs, etc. Also she thought my electolytes & trace minerals could be off due to being sick/not eating great/drinking a lot of water. So she asked me to take potassium & calcium/mag supplements until I am feeling better, along with Emergen-C (which I was already taking).
post #5 of 11
I was tachycardic all through my 2nd and 3rd trimesters. I saw a cardiologist, who said that some degree of tachycardia is normal during pregnancy, because of the increased blood volume, body weight, etc, just like your midwife said. It's normal for your resting rate to be faster than normal, and also for you to have episodes of tachycardia after exertion or when you are worried or stressed.

The stress of worrying about the tachycardia doesn't help, of course! Mine is especially bad when doctors are getting on my case about it.

Mine was a bit above what's normally expected, so we chose to monitor it carefully. I saw a cardiologist, who called it "benign sinus tachycardia," and recommended having it reevaluated after DD was weaned, to be sure it was really from pregnancy, and not an underlying problem. I have not gone back yet.

I was told that resting heart rates into the 130 bpm's for any prolonged length of time can be damaging to baby's development, and that if I noticed that extreme level of tachycardia, or had any chest pain or other symptoms, to have it checked out right away.

I really think it's just one of the annoyances of pregnancy, like being short of breath and having heartburn, that come from sharing your body with your baby.
post #6 of 11
What is Rescue Remedy? I have anxiety problems as it is, so add the heart issue and of course it gets worse, anything that can help is good!

Also, call me a tard, but how exactly do you count your heart rate?
post #7 of 11
With my first pregnancy I had an episode of tachycardia that woke me up and I called the doc on call who told me that it was the increase in blood volume and sometimes it just happens. I hate that "it just happens" answer. Since then I have deals with PVC's that started when my depression/anxiety started a few years ago after my second pregnancy. Talk about scary. Nothing like thinking you are having a heart attack. With my third pregnancy I had first and second trimester shortness of breath that I hadn't had with the first two pregnancies (or at least I hadn't noticed it and I was just hyper sensitive to it then) and it freaked me out. Then I asked some women here due at the same time and it was totally common. Ah, relief.

I'm 12 weeks with this pregnancy (#4) and have noticed shortness of breath, a few episodes of PVC's and I often notice that my heartrate is elevated, though I don't think it ever gets above 100bpm at this point. The frustrating thing is that worrying about it makes it worse. I know that this probably doesn't help, but I hope it makes you feel better to know that there are others out here with the same type thing going on.

Oh, and to check your heartrate, just do what you would do to check your pulse when you exercise -- it's the same thing. Find your pulse and take it for six seconds and multiply the number by ten, or take it for ten seconds and multiply it by six, or I take it for 15 seconds and multiply it by four (because it is more accurate.) That gives you your beats per minute or bpm. My normal is around the low 60's. They say that 60 to 100 is normal non pregnant, though if my heartrate were consistently 100 I would be worried.
post #8 of 11
Here is a link to rescue remedy

The stuff is amazing. We have the spray, since that is what our health food store had. It works great for kids, adults, and pets.

There are other flower essences that have been found to help with more specific issues...but rescue remedy has been an overall great help to my entire family.
Our second kiddo is rather spirited and is prone to the most unbelieveable, never-ending temper tantrums. Two sprays of RR and he is a human-being again (in like 10 seconds too!)
When he was about a year old I started getting some real post-partum issues too. RR helped me keep my head and deal with the world.
DH has panic attacks--and as long as they aren't linked to something that serves as a constant reminder (pain or whatnot) RR takes care of them in nothing flat.

Anyhow--I can't recommend it highly enough. It seems like a huge expense when you see how small the containers are, but it lasts forever and it a worthwhile investment

Oh--Jish-- My dad has a pulse like mine--right around 60 (the lowest I've had mine is 51--that even freaked me out when I saw that!)
But my mom's pulse is always 100 or a hair above.
I can't imagine what that would feel like--to always have your heart going that fast?!?!
She has a metabolism like a bird--she can eat and eat and eat, whereas my dad and I...well, if we look at food we gain weight
post #9 of 11
Oh wow, thank you so much! I've had panic attacks my whole life, most severe the past year and a half. I was on Klonopin and Zoloft before I got pg because I was having daily full blown attacks, sometimes several a day, which lasted around 2 hours each. It was unbearable. I'll try RR! Thanks again!
post #10 of 11
I had an episode of tachicarida last night that landed us in the emergency room for about four hours.
about ten minutes with a pulse above 200, and about 80 minutes with a pulse above 180.
No idea what caused it (was in a theatre, watching the last ten minutes of Narnia when it started) went to the hosptial. triaged with a pulse of 200.
baby's heart rate, oxygen saturation, urine all normal. BP slightly elevated 118/65 then up to 133/78 when it was over 200.
I was sent to l&d, then sent back to ER, it finally just stopped.... pulse got down to 98, bp down to 98/51, oxygen levels and baby's heart rate all normal still...

no reason for it idiopathic supraventricular tachicardia (or we dont' know why but your heart was racing).
Happened once when I was pg with ds (I think i was 35 weeks?), i'd been sick, I'd been sitting for a long time and then got up, walked up two flights of stairs and carried our 18 month old back down them when it started last time.....
only lasted about 30 minutes last time...

to you, I know how worrisome it can be.
post #11 of 11
Taking a magnesium supplement helped me tremendously.
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