How High Can Your Heart Rate Go When You're Pregnant? Here's What A Midwife Says

Ad failed to load

I'll never forget when I began to suspect I might be pregnant for the third time. I was checking email, sipping my daily coffee, and savoring the relaxing morning. But about halfway through my cup of coffee, I realized my heart was racing. Caffeine had never had that effect on me before and although I thought there was no way I could be pregnant (ha), I began to wonder. A week later I had a positive test. I thought back to the day my heart rate shot up and worried. How high can your heart rate go when you're pregnant and still be safe? According to one professional, it can vary with each trimester.

Maternal heart rate (MHR) increases as the pregnancy progresses, Certified Nurse Midwife Denise Castellanos tells Romper, to meet the needs of the developing baby. As you might then expect, the height of a woman's MHR is in the third trimester. After her delivery of the baby, her rate will return to its normal baseline during the postpartum period. But since every woman has a resting heart rate that is unique to her own body, there is not a single number that can be the goal for everyone during pregnancy. Multiple gestation (twins, triplets, etc.) can also affect MHR.

Ad failed to load

There are other factors that may affect a pregnant woman's heart rate as well, Castellanos explains. These include exercise, hyperthermia (significantly increased body temperature), anxiety, postural changes, and caffeine. So while a little variance in heart rate is normal and not worrisome, there are some conditions that may demand a woman seek further medical evaluation. If a woman has a history of anemia, thyroid disorder, cardiovascular disorder, palpitations, asthma, or if she is on daily medications, her heart rate should be monitored closely by her provider.

Even if a woman has no such medical history, she should be aware that complications that arise during pregnancy such as fever, infection, dehydration, and bleeding can affect her MHR also.

How do you know when an incident of increased heart rate might be serious? Castellanos says to pay attention to two things: Your breath and your chest. "Underlying conditions or sudden onset of symptoms associated with shortness of breath or chest pain need immediate emergent medical attention," she advises.

Ad failed to load

For many pregnant women, an increased heart rate is most frequently a concern during exercise. While taking care of your body and building stamina for labor is certainly important, it's normal to wonder how much is too much. The recommendation of the OB-GYN community is that it's healthy for a pregnant woman to exercise as long as she can carry on a conversation while doing so. If you find you can't gab to your friend while you work out together, you need to take it down a notch.

In order to find your own ideal heart rate, Castellanos advises you discuss your medical history, physical fitness status, and gestational age with your care provider. The midwife encourages women to find their own resting heart rate baseline, pointing out that a healthy rate is considered to be between 60 to 100 beats per minute for an adult, with some variance depending on physical condition. Knowing your own body gives you a better awareness when things steer off course.

Ad failed to load

If your heart rate is accelerated during pregnancy, there's likely no reason to be alarmed. If you know you have medical complications, talk with your doctor about monitoring your MHR, but if you're simply noticing your heart racing during exercise or while drinking a little caffeine, some small adjustments will have you feeling better in no time. For your sake, I hope that doesn't mean giving up coffee.

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The Pressure To Worry About The Gap Between Kids Is So Bad For Moms

"Two under two is absolutely crazy," a friend recently told me upon hearing the news that I was expecting a second child. "Why would you do this to yourself? Seriously, why?" However harsh her words, she was only echoing the same feelings I'd been ba…
By Marie Southard Ospina

To Be Honest, I Couldn't Survive Motherhood Without My Job

The decision to work outside the home once you've become a parent can be a complicated one. Some people don't really have a choice, and go back to work because they're either a single parent or can't sustain their family on one income. Some choose to…
By Priscilla Blossom

I Feel Guilty That My Kid’s Dad Is A Better Parent Than Me, & That’s Bullsh*t

I was scared, and he was sure. I was clueless, and he was well-researched. I was making mistakes, and he was picking up the pieces. From the moment I found out I was pregnant until just last night, when I threw my hands up in the air and left the alw…
By Danielle Campoamor

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

I’m Registered At Babies “R” Us, & I'm Freaking The Hell Out

Hi. My name is Abi, and I’m registered at Babies “R” Us — and I’m freaking out. This may sound silly, but after being a die-hard Toys “R” Us kid, I was so excited to register at their baby store once my husband and I finally got our big fat positive …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

Women Who Miscarry Early Deserve To Grieve — Here's How Hospitals Should Be Helping

When I lost my baby back in 2013, it was because of a very early miscarriage. Because of the little amount of time I spent being pregnant, it was though my child had never really existed, which made the next few years hard — I felt like they had been…
By Risa Kerslake

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

Millennial Women Are Getting Married Later Than Gen X, & The Reasons Why Are Pretty Badass

The battle of the generations seems to come up when it comes to every lifestyle or career choice people make. Women, especially, are an important demographic when it comes to analysts looking at the lifestyle choices we make or the expected milestone…
By Josie Rhodes Cook

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

I'm Pregnant & I Refuse To Read Any Parenting Books

I didn't read any parenting books when I was expecting my daughter, and I refuse to read any parenting books as I await my second child now. I'm the first to admit that I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to raising my daughter. A good d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

7 Reasons Why March Babies Are Total Badasses

From the moment you become pregnant, you begin to wonder what your little one will be like. Will they look like you, your partner, or your Great Aunt Edna? Will they be the quiet, thoughtful type or arrive on this planet raring to go? It's fun to ima…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

12 Overnight Face Masks To Use To Wake Up Feeling Pampered AF

Spring is right around the corner, and as far as I'm concerned, the sunshine and warm breezes can't come soon enough. But now that we're about to say goodbye to winter, it's a good time to take stock of your facial skincare routine. You know, in the …
By Katie Malczyk

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How Early An Ultrasound Can Actually Determine Your Baby's Sex

From the moment you see those two lines on a pregnancy test, there are a few markers along the way that stand out as especially exciting. Amongst them are hearing your baby's heartbeat and feeling that first, sweet little kick. And if you are finding…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

9 Easy Kid Foods To Turn Green, Just In Time For St. Patrick's Day

The best part about having kids is that you get your own personal crew to celebrate the holidays with, in all your color coordinating and matching glory. And with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, you are obviously working on turning everyth…
By Mishal Ali Zafar