You got used to sleepless nights, morning sickness, increased appetite, frequent urination during pregnancy, but now they are accompanied by chest pain. Is this a normal pregnancy symptom or much more? Let’s take a closer look at this issue together.
What is chest pain during pregnancy?
Chest pain during pregnancy can be worrisome at first, but it is not uncommon and is experienced by many pregnant women. There can be many reasons for this and most of the time it has nothing to do with your overall health. But in rare cases, breast pain during pregnancy can be linked to a serious health problem. Here’s what you need to know about chest pain during pregnancy and when to see a doctor.
Chest pain and possible accompanying symptoms during pregnancy
Especially as your pregnancy progresses, all the changes in your body can increase your heart rate to be higher than normal. Your growing baby in your belly may also push your stomach and lungs.
It’s perfectly normal for this reason, besides your chest pain, you may also experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing while sleeping or lying down
- Heart palpitations ( heart palpitations during pregnancy )
- fast heart rate
- low blood pressure
Causes of chest pain during pregnancy: Early period
Possible causes of chest pain in early pregnancy are listed below:
Along with the excitement of a new pregnancy, you begin to experience physical changes. If this is your first pregnancy, it can quickly turn into anxiety and stress. In this case, you may be feeling stressed or anxious, or you may even be having a panic attack.
This can happen at any time during your pregnancy, but you may be even more anxious, especially when you’re just getting used to the idea of a new child or when you’re worried about your baby’s health.
All of these feelings can give you physical symptoms during pregnancy, such as chest pain , and you may experience:
- chest tightness
- feelings of tension
- rapid breathing
- difficulty concentrating
2- Morning sickness
Sometimes the first signs of being pregnant are nausea and vomiting. Morning sickness can happen at any time of the day and sometimes at night. It’s caused by the rising hormones your body starts producing when you get pregnant.
Related article: All about nausea and vomiting in pregnancy
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can sometimes cause temporary weight loss and even dehydration.
Severe morning sickness can cause chest pain during pregnancy . You may also experience chest pain when acidic vomit repeatedly irritates your throat. Constant gagging can also tire your stomach and chest muscles, causing muscle pain.
3- Lung conditions
If you have asthma, you may feel worse. This can give you more severe asthma symptoms than you’re used to, and can lead to chest tightness, shortness of breath, and chest pain during pregnancy.
Lung infections, the common cold, severe allergies or pneumonia can also cause chest pain during pregnancy . In such cases, you may experience a normal flu or cold more severely.
Chest pain from lung problems can occur at any time, including the first trimester.
IMPORTANT: You should notify your doctor immediately if you develop any new illnesses resulting in fever or flu-like symptoms during pregnancy.
4- Painful burning sensation in the chest
Acid reflux can cause chest pain that feels like your heart is on fire. This very common cause of chest pain during pregnancy has nothing to do with your heart. Heartburn pain typically happens near the middle of your chest. The pain may rise up to your throat.
Chest pain caused by heartburn is caused by acid from the stomach splashing from the mouth into the esophagus leading to the stomach.
Higher levels of the hormone progesterone during pregnancy may be responsible for this condition. This hormone relaxes the round sphincter muscles that normally close the opening in the upper part of the stomach. This leak, as well as the extra urge in the stomach as your baby grows, causes pregnancy heartburn and chest pain.
While heartburn may be more common in the second and third trimesters, it also occurs in some women during the first trimester.
5- Feeling gassy
Gassiness can cause bloating, detecting strange smells, and noises you hope no one hears. Gas can also cause chest pain during pregnancy . This is often related to indigestion.
Related article: What to do to remove gas?
Indigestion occurs when gas gets trapped in the upper part of your stomach. If you’re gassy, you may experience chest pain in the lower or upper part of your chest (in the area close to your heart to worry you).
Chest pain from gassiness is more common in the second or third trimester, as your growing baby pushes your stomach up. However, it can also happen in the first trimester.
Hormonal changes due to pregnancy can disrupt your normal digestion and cause more gas formation than usual.
Causes of chest pain during pregnancy: advanced period
The causes of advanced chest pain during pregnancy are listed below:
1- Breast pain
Pregnancy makes you more sensual as your body prepares to nurture your baby. Hormonal changes during pregnancy also mean that your bra will grow several sizes! However, this condition can also cause chest pain and breast pain during pregnancy .
If you normally have small breasts, you may have more pain as they get bigger. Breast pain from enlarged breasts is usually worst during the third trimester, but you may also experience breast pain or breast tenderness from the first trimester.
2- Rib pain
You know that your body goes through miraculous changes during pregnancy, but did you know that even your bones move? Along with your blooming belly, the rib cage also expands during pregnancy. This mostly happens in the third trimester, but it can happen as early as the second trimester.
This can stretch the rubbery cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone, causing pain and tenderness. Rib pain, or costochondritis , can cause chest pain during pregnancy . It can also make deep breathing painful late in your pregnancy.
3 Blood clot in the lung
A blood clot or pulmonary embolism in the lungs is a rare and serious cause of chest pain.
This life-threatening condition occurs when a blood clot causes a blockage in the lungs. If you are overweight or obese during pregnancy, you are at higher risk if you have a history of blood clots or a genetic disorder such as factor V Leiden that predisposes you to clots.
Pregnant women can experience pulmonary embolism during or after childbirth. In very rare cases, it can also occur in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Pulmonary embolism causes symptoms such as:
- Chest pain when breathing deeply
- pain when coughing
- fast heart rate
- leg swelling
If you suspect that a blood clot may form, you should notify a doctor immediately.
4- Serious heart conditions
There are also serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that can cause chest pain later in pregnancy. These include peripartum cardiomyopathy and myocardial infarction (heart attack).
While these conditions are highly unlikely, it is always important to let your doctor know if you have chest pain so they can be ruled out.
How to relieve chest pain during pregnancy?
Most causes of chest pain during pregnancy are normal. You will not need medical treatment. Depending on the cause of your chest pain, you can sometimes help relieve your pain with home treatments.
To relieve chest pain during pregnancy, you can do the following:
- Imagine meditating, listening to soothing music, and holding your baby in your arms if you’re worried.
- If self-management fails, see a therapist to manage anxiety.
- Eat more frequent and smaller meals to relieve nausea and vomiting.
- Avoid spicy foods.
- Avoid foods that can make your heartburn worse. These foods include tomatoes, dairy products, chocolate, mint, and citrus fruits.
- Avoid eating gas-producing foods, such as processed and sugary foods.
- Drink ginger tea to help soothe an upset stomach.
- Use cold compresses to relieve swelling and muscle pain.
- Apply a warm compress or hot water bottle to relieve muscle and rib pain.
- Wear a comfortable bra that gives you firm support but isn’t too tight.
- Lie on your side to reduce pressure on your chest and lungs.
- Lie down or sleep with a body pillow to help support excess weight.
When to see a doctor for chest pain during pregnancy?
You should see your doctor right away if you have severe chest pain that does not go away, or if you have other symptoms that occur even at rest or while lying down. Some pregnant women can get high blood pressure and other conditions that can affect the heart.
You should also seek emergency help if:
- severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- sudden shortness of breath
- Chest pain that worsens when coughing
- back pain when breathing
- extreme nausea and vomiting
- heart palpitations
- fast heart rate
- Headache (headache during pregnancy )
- blurred vision
- dark-colored urine or urinating less than usual
- Leg or ankle swelling
- swelling anywhere on your face or body
- Calf muscle pain or leg pain
You should tell your doctor if you experience chest pain during pregnancy and have had varicose veins or blood clots before. It’s also helpful to let your doctor know if your mother or anyone in your immediate family has a history of heart disease, stroke, blood clots or varicose veins.
Medical treatment for chest pain during pregnancy
Most pregnant women do not need treatment for chest pain. However, if you have severe chest pain during pregnancy, if the underlying cause does not go away or if it seems serious, your doctor may recommend medical treatment.
Medication or other treatment for an underlying cause of chest pain can help prevent it. For example, your doctor may change your asthma medication during pregnancy to help prevent chest pain.
If you have severe morning sickness, your doctor may recommend medication and intravenous fluids to help control nausea and vomiting.
Wearing compression stockings and walking frequently can help prevent blood clots in your legs and elsewhere on the body. Your doctor may also prescribe a blood-thinning medicine called heparin to help prevent blood clots after you deliver your baby.
If you have blood pressure problems, you may need a medication adjustment that only your doctor can prescribe.
Remember, your doctor will decide which medicine to take and how.
As a result
Chest pain during pregnancy is usually nothing to worry about. Most causes of chest pain have nothing to do with your heart. Stress, colds, asthma, and other common conditions can cause chest pain while pregnant.
Your new baby’s increased weight, changing body, and changing organs can also cause chest pain. In rare cases, chest pain and other symptoms may also be a sign of a more serious health condition. You should see your doctor if you have symptoms that are severe or that worry you.