Here’s one for the Not Fun column

How did I get seven-plus months into pregnancy without knowing heart palpitations were a thing?

I mean, I knew they existed, but I’d never experienced it, and didn’t know it’s actually a somewhat common complaint in pregnancy, especially in third trimester.

Here’s what happened:

I went to bed last night feeling mildly hungry – not just “I could eat something” but tummy growling. I was tired though, and figured if I was hungry enough I’d wake up. Well I slept like a log and woke up still hungry. Took my shower and started to make some breakfast. I was feeling kind of weird, and thought I might have let my blood sugar get too low. I munched a big piece of pineapple while I pulled out a pan to make eggs. Within just a few seconds I felt like I was going to throw up and my heart was pounding. I quickly got myself a glass of water and moved to the bathroom in case I did actually vomit. I heaved a few times but did not actually throw up. My heart kept pounding and I was trembling. I called for Zach, he came to check on me, helped me get to bed to lay down, and quickly made me some toast and juice. I rested on my side, and began to feel better, then ate what Zach brought me, and felt more or less normal, just scared and a little “heavy” in my arms and legs.

I called my midwife, and while I waited for her to return the call, texted my boss to let him know I may be coming in late depending on what the midwife said. Fortunately my awesome boss is awesome. His wife had a baby last year, and he’s been really understanding about all things gestational and work-related. He let me know his wife had experienced similar episodes a couple of times, at around the same point in pregnancy I was at now.

When the midwife called back, she agreed that I had probably let my blood sugar fall, which can trigger heart palpitations. She also said just being seven months pregnant can trigger them, because of the higher blood volume my heart is pumping every day. She said to eat, drink plenty of water and take it slowly this morning. And to keep some healthy snacks handy all day, to eat more frequently.

While I ate breakfast, here’s what I learned:

“A pregnant woman must move that significantly enhanced blood volume around her body with the very same heart she relies upon while not pregnant, meaning that the heart has to work much harder during pregnancy than during other times. The increased workload forces the heart to beat with greater force and more frequently in order to keep blood pressure adequate; this results in more frequent “errors” in heartbeat—moments during which the beat becomes a bit asynchronous—and these errors are felt as palpitations. Typically, they last only a few seconds, and are generally not accompanied by any other symptoms. ” Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/183623-what-causes-heart-palpitations-during-pregnancy/#ixzz1Zv2cGC00

“Palpitations are extremely common. Different people experience palpitations in different ways. You might feel as though your heart is fluttering, throbbing, flip-flopping, or pounding, or that it has skipped a beat. Some people feel palpitations as a pounding in the neck; others as a general sense of unease. Many things can generate palpitations. These include … low blood sugar… pregnancy…” Source: http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Surprise-of-palpitations.shtml

Here’s what I did:

After the “recovery” snack Zach brought me, I felt well enough to eat breakfast, so I had two eggs and two glasses of milk. After I ate, I laid back down, resting on my left side, and after Zach had left for work, let myself sleep for about 45 minutes. When I woke up, I had glass of water and a little more juice (while typing this post).

I’m feeling better, and will head to the office now.

This was scary. But I think everything is fine, I just should have eaten something before going to bed last night, when my body asked me for it. Lesson learned. I hope this information helps anyone else who experiences this – preferably by forewarning you so you don’t get scared like I did.

 

 

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3 responses to “Here’s one for the Not Fun column

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