Pregnant women have a slightly higher pulse rate than that of non-pregnant women and men. High resting pulse rate during pregnancy is attributed to higher rate of metabolism.
You can measure your normal pulse rate when you are resting. Just press your fingers at the back side of your wrist and you will feel the pulse. It is expressed in beats per minute, since it indicates how many times your heart beats in a minute. The normal rate is also called ‘resting pulse rate’. A healthy heart beats slowly, because with less number of contractions, it can pump the required quantity of blood to the body. But a weak heart beats faster and harder in order to meet the demand of blood and oxygen from the body. Pulse rate is also referred to as heart rate (HR). It varies according to age, overall health, weight, physical activity, lifestyle, etc. It is not constant throughout the day. Pulse rate during pregnancy is slightly higher, and the reasons for the same are given in this article.
Normal Rate for Women
Resting heart rate (RHR) for children above 10 and adults can be between 60-100 bpm. The normal, good, resting rate range for women is 60-70 beats per minute. Younger women display a higher value than older women. Obese or overweight women have a higher value than skinny women or women with moderate or low body weight. On the contrary, athletes or women who have chosen sports as their profession, exhibit amazingly low RHR like 54-59 bpm. They undergo endurance training, which strengthens their heart and lungs. Those who are physically active, exhibit relatively lower HR. Those who spend a sedentary lifestyle generally exhibit higher HR.
A woman may have a higher HR when she is pregnant. The normal rate can be anywhere between 85-90 bpm. Sometimes, it can be as high as 100 beats per minute. Depending upon your normal HR before conceiving and your overall health, you may notice a small or significant rise in the HR. Extremely higher or lower HR during this time is a sign of health disorder. In that case, you should see your health care provider immediately.
- Growth of the uterus, fetus, and placenta increase body’s demand for blood from the heart. So, the heart has to work harder to meet the demand.
- The body needs extra blood to nourish the fetus. While pregnant, gradual changes that take place in the circulatory system, increase the demand for blood.
- Hormonal changes, presence of pregnancy hormones affect the tone of blood vessels.
- An increase in metabolic rate and core temperature is noticed.
- The amount of air taken in and thrown out of the lungs during each breath increases significantly.
- Increased weight raises the HR.
- Hormone released by the placenta makes the thyroid gland more active. The gland, therefore, produces larger amounts of thyroid hormones. This leads to increased HR. The woman may experience palpitations, excessive perspiration, mood swings. But this is not hyperthyroidism.
Owing to 30 to 50% increase in cardiac output (amount of blood pumped by the heart) during this period, a relatively higher HR is naturally experienced. Pregnant women generally notice a rise by about 10-20 beats. As mentioned earlier, the rise will vary from woman to woman, depending upon her health, weight, age, lifestyle, etc. Bad habits, like excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, use of drugs, use of certain medications, stressful lifestyle can affect the HR significantly.
If a pregnant woman notices very high or low HR, she should immediately see her doctor. Certain dietary changes, sufficient rest, moderate exercise, etc., help maintain normal rate. Pregnant women generally develop iron deficiency. Nutritional deficiencies can affect heart health. Use of correct dietary supplements, relaxation of mind and body help improve the health.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.