Resting heart rate is measured when the body is at complete rest. A pregnant woman’s heart rate, when she is at rest, is slightly higher than the normal desired value. Read on to find out why is it so.
The heart is the most important organ of the human body and it beats continuously. When the heart beats, it actually pumps out blood for the entire body. The heart rate is the number of times the heart beats in one minute. Having a normal heart rate is essential for the well-being of the body, and the average normal heart rate for men and women is 60 – 100 bpm (beats per minute).
Basically, heart rate is a more generalized term, which is used when the heart rate is calculated at any time without considering factors, like stress and level of physical activity. It is used to calculate the fitness level of the body. A person’s heart rate varies throughout the day, and various factors, like age, gender, body temperature, level of physical activity, and genetics can influence it.
Resting Heart Rate
» Resting heart rate is the heart rate calculated when the body is at complete rest. It is generally abbreviated as RHR.
» The best time to measure it is morning hours, as the body is not very tired and stressed. But, don’t be in a hurry to calculate it immediately after you wake up. Relax on your bed for about 15 minutes and then calculate.
» You can also measure it at some other time of the day, but it would be a little higher than your actual RHR due to a variety of reasons, like digestion, stress level, and other changes in the body.
» Now, let’s take a look at the method of calculation. How is the heart rate calculated? You can feel the heart beats at any point on the body where the artery is close to the skin’s surface. But, it is best to measure it at points on your wrist or neck.
» You can use the middle or index finger to measure the heart rate. Count the pulse for 10 seconds, and then, multiply the obtained value with 6, and the result so obtained is your RHR.
» Physicians generally use an electrocardiogram (ECG) or heart rate monitor to measure the heart rate, as these methods give accurate results.
RHR during Pregnancy
➜ Normally, women tend to have a higher heart rate than men. Men have larger hearts and lungs than women. Therefore, their lungs oxygenate more blood and heart pumps more per minute. So, in order to get a similar oxygen saturation, women’s hearts have to pump faster.
➜ Various factors affect the heart rate of women, the important ones being weight and stress levels. With the increase in weight, the heart rate also increases, as the heart has to work hard to supply blood to distant organs of the body and the growing fetus.
➜ The normal rate for women is between 60 – 80 bpm. If a woman is physically very active and has an ideal weight, she might have a heart rate lower than 70 bpm, and on the contrary, an overweight woman with zero level of exercise can have a heart rate greater than 80 bpm.
➜ With good fitness levels, the cardiovascular strength increases, and this results in a lower heart rate. This is the reason why many good athletes have a below-average heart rate.
➜ A number of changes, which can influence the heart rate, take place in a woman during pregnancy. A few have been enlisted below:
- As menstruation stops, the volume of blood in the body increases by about 50 percent as compared to the normal value.
- The cardiac output, which is a measure of the amount of blood pumped out by the heart, also increases by about 50%. Thus, it is very normal for the heart rate to increase.
- The heart rate also varies according to the size of the fetus.
➜ During pregnancy, there is a distinctive increase in the heart rate, and the RHR is about 10 to 20 beats higher than normal.
➜ Special care should be taken to ensure that the heart rate does not exceed way beyond the normal level, and it should return to its normal value after the delivery.
RHR Chart for Women
The chart given below should be used just for reference. For women athletes, the heart rate is generally below the normal value and that is a good sign.
|Age||Desired Heart Rate|
|18 – 25||61 – 78 bpm|
|26 – 35||60 – 76 bpm|
|36 – 45||60 – 78 bpm|
|46 – 55||61 – 77 bpm|
|56+||60 – 76 bpm|
If you have a high resting heart rate, you need to make certain changes in the diet plan. Try including foods, such as fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It’s always better to consult the doctor for medications. Moderate exercises can also be done under the supervision of a doctor. Unhealthy habits, like smoking and drinking should be avoided completely.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.