Health Team

Pregnancy can cause heart palpitations

Pregnancy often causes palpitations even in women who are otherwise healthy.

Posted Updated

RALEIGH, N.C. — 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.

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.



Allen Mask, M.D., Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Producer
Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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