The importance of being active and exercising throughout pregnancy cannot be stressed enough – this will help the woman control the amount of weight she gains, is good for her health and that of the baby and will also help her have an easier labor and delivery.
However, there are some precautions that should be taken with regard to the heart rate during pregnancy.
Among the many bodily changes that a woman’s body undergoes during the time of pregnancy, there are also significant changes that occur in the heart – the size of the heart itself increases, and the heart rate increases as well.
This is because the heart is having to work extra hard to provide blood for the mother and the unborn baby as well ensuring adequate nourishment reaches both. Since so much of the blood is being diverted to the uterus, the heart is working extra hard to supply nutrition to different parts of the mother’s body.
Because of this, the heart rate during pregnancy is higher than at other times and is generally about 85 to 90 beats per minute, as against the normal heart rate of 70 beats a minute. The heart rate in case of a twin pregnancy or a second pregnancy could be even more rapid.
This increased heart rate during pregnancy is why pregnant women so often find themselves being short of breath, and getting winded with less physical effort than before.
This shortness of breath could be compounded later in the pregnancy, when the increasing size of the uterus places more pressure to the diaphragm causing even more shortness of breath.
Some experts recommend that while exercising during pregnancy, care should be taken that the heart rate does not exceed 140 a minute. Others however believe that there need not be such a restriction placed on the heart rate during pregnancy; rather it is more important to exercise consistently for half an hour a day throughout pregnancy, as long as there is no medical indication to do otherwise.
However, the Mayo Clinic still recommends that any exercise program that is begun during pregnancy should be cleared with one’s health care provider, particularly if one has a history of diabetes, hypertension or preterm labor.
It is recommended that you don’t overdo it; that pregnant women should pace their workout in such a way as to be able to carry out a conversation while exercising. if you are panting too much to speak, you may be pushing yourself too hard and risking problems such as dehydration and overheating which may cause problems for mother and baby as well.
Another precaution that is wise to take during pregnancy is not to participate in contact sport or high impact exercise. These increase the danger of jarring and injury, which could result in pregnancy complications.
If there is any change or abnormality noted in the heart rate during pregnancy, it should be reported to the health care provider immediately – very rapid heartbeat, extreme breathlessness, any cardiac pain or uneasiness should be reported. Therefore it is advisable that women keep a check on their heart rate during pregnancy.