Health Team

Pregnancy can cause heart palpitations

Posted December 6, 2010
Updated December 7, 2010

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— Jackie Jones has a heart rhythm disorder that can cause unpredictable heart palpitations.

“It feels like I'm a lot older than 25. It feels like you were running a race,” Jones said of the condition.

Jones takes a calcium channel blocker to treat the palpitations, but she stopped the medication when she became pregnant.

Pregnancy, with a 30 percent increase in blood volume, often causes palpitations, even in women who are otherwise healthy.

“Most often these are benign. These are nothing more than extra beats related to nothing more than the increased stretch on the top chamber of the heart related to the increased blood volume,” said Dr. Kevin Campbell, a cardiac electrophysiologist at WakeMed Hospital.

Campbell saw Jones regularly throughout her pregnancy.

“I did wear a cardiac monitor to record episodes. So, Dr. Campbell looks at those recordings, making sure that it's not serious,” Jones said.

Campbell said women should not ignore unusual heart rhythms in pregnancy.

“Having a good dialog with your ob-gyn when you have symptoms, particularly if it's your first pregnancy and you're unsure what these symptoms means,” Campbell said.

Pregnancy can cause heart palpitations for some Pregnancy can cause heart palpitations for some

Everything turned out well for Jackie and her baby daughter.

“Everything is much better. I feel, actually, back to 25 again,” Jones said.

Campbell said women, more than men, go undiagnosed and untreated when it comes to cardiovascular disease.

He said pregnancy can often reveal underlying heart issues that need to be treated or closely monitored.


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  • Sez Who Dec 7, 2010

    I can tell you that, when my W informed me she was pregnant, my heart sure skipped a beat!

  • Just Once Dec 7, 2010

    I thought that happened right BEFORE Pregancy... HA!

  • emandmikey Dec 6, 2010

    This happened to me when I was pregnant with my first child. I had an irregular heart beat and was put on a Holter monitor - they found out that I had a condition called SVT with PAC, something that's not serious unless I become overweight. What a great motivation to stay in shape, huh? With my second pregnancy, I didn't have any issues, and haven't since then either. I think it's great to keep up an honest and open dialog with the doctors, it's good that they know how you're feeling while you're pregnant.