A palpitation is a term used to describe the feeling of the heart 'racing' or beating strongly and rapidly in the chest.
Palpitations can be felt by anyone (pregnant or not) and are thought to be caused by emotional reactions such as stress, anxiety, nervousness, fear, shock or physical overexertion. Some medications can also cause palpitations.
Palpitations are very common during pregnancy. This is due to the extra workload that can be placed on the heart to pump up to 50 percent more blood volume around the woman's body. Palpitations can be felt for no apparent reason, if exercising, under stress, feeling anxious or excited. Often the woman can be feeling breathless when experiencing palpitations, however they usually subside on their own after a few minutes or less.
NOTE: Occasionally palpitations can indicate a heart condition. If you are concerned you should contact your caregiver. They may suggest tests on your heart to rule out this possibility. This may include wearing a 'halter monitor' for 24 hours. (A machine that monitors and records your heart beat continuously). A halter monitor can be worn at home.
If the palpitations are very frequent, do not stop, or are associated with chest pain, feeling sweaty, faint or nauseated you may need medical attention. Contact your hospital or caregiver immediately.
What women find useful for palpitations
Generally resting quietly and taking a few deep breaths is enough. Looking at some possible causes and using some stress and relaxation techniques can be helpful.
Some homoeopaths will recommend Lillium Tigrinum, but the remedy will often depend on the perceived cause of the palpitations. See you Homoeopath for an assessment.
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