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heart palpatations - what exercise can I do?

7 replies

UrsulaSings · 13/05/2020 09:53

I feel so incredibly unfit at the moment. I am 23 weeks pregnant and previous to pregnancy I wasn't really fit and didn't do much exercise, although I was eating healthily and lost about a stone (as I was overweight). My heart rate since I have been pregnant can go up to 110 bpm AT REST. As I am writing this it is 108.

I have been in to triage in the hospital as they wanted to check it out and had an ECG and they said it seemed OK (although I did say when I was on the ECG as it had taken a few hours for them to sort out I hadn't had any palpatations in the last hour or so, but they did it anyway). Had some bloods done and I was diagnosed as aneamic.

I have been taking my iron tablets now for a couple of weeks, and I thought the heart palpatations had got better, however the last couple of days they have got really bad again.

Is this because I am not physically fit? This has been happening since I was about 8 weeks pregnant but it feels as though it is getting worse.

What very gentle exercise could I do? I feel really stuck because I want to exercise to make myself more fit, but even sitting down my heart can go crazy, and walking up the stairs I get out of breath. I was unfit before pregnancy but not THAT bad!! It was getting easier as well as I was looking after myself better.

I don't feel like there is any exercise I can do to make this better because even the most mundane things tip me over.

OP posts:
Pasflo · 13/05/2020 10:04

You are worrying about this too much. A resting tachycardia is normal in pregnancy. The more you avoid exertion the worse you will feel as you will physically detrain. Start with walking and gradually increase the distance and pace.

Superscientist · 13/05/2020 10:35

It might be worth asking your midwife for some specific advice.

I would start small and slow, gentle walks for 10 minutes or so to start then build up. If you feel OK doing that you can find prenatal yoga and pilates videoes on YouTube and similar. They are good as you can pause them if you need a break or to stop. If they feel OK, there are other prenatal exercise videos.

The golden rule is to keep the intensity at a level where you can still hold a conversation at the same time. If you feel uncomfortable or not right at any point stop, you can always restart once you recover. It might take a bit of trial and error to find a pace that you can manage. Speed isn't important!

TenThousandSpoons0 · 13/05/2020 10:41

I’d suggest if you’re getting bad palpitations and they are getting worse, it’s worth seeing a doctor again. Gentle walk by all means - but talk to your doctor again about these symptoms getting worse. Resting tachycardia is normal (common) but sometimes pregnancy can cause heart rhythm changes. Might be worth yourdoctors arranging a heart monitor test where you wear the monitor for 24 hrs or so and see if it captures anything at the times you’re actually having symptoms.
Assume they checked your thyroid function already, if not that should be checked too. Depending how anaemic you were and whether that’s getting better they may want to treat that more aggressively.
Most likely it’ll end up being just a pregnancy thing that you have to put up with - but do check again.

UrsulaSings · 13/05/2020 11:04

thank you @Pasflo @Superscientist @TenThousandSpoons0

I have been doing walking. Not every day but when I do go for a walk they have been fairly long and that is OK although I do get breathless/palpitations when going up hills. Previously I was doing a 15 minute cardio workout most days but since about 4/5 weeks ago when the palpitations got worse and I felt exhausted (I suppose from the anaemia) I have found that feels too much now. I have also been doing a 10 minute yoga stretch video as well, but that is more to help with back pain and doesn't really feel like exercise.

Maybe I'm expecting too much?

I have had investigations into my heart pre-pregnancy but nothing was found, although I never wore a heart monitor all day. It always seems that when they do the ECG its not doing the thing that I feel is a problem! Just like when you have an intermittent fault on your car and it works perfectly when you take it to the garage!

I spoke to the midwife and she said to carry on with the iron and see how it goes.

Maybe I am also expecting too much of myself? I saw another post on here a while ago with people talking about exercise and some were saying they were doing an hours cardio etc every day, and I feel like that's what I should be doing but don't feel like I could handle it because my heart just goes mad. I guess I don't know whether I should be pushing through it, or whether that is actually unhelpful. The conversation thing was helpful to know.

Thank you.

OP posts:
Superscientist · 13/05/2020 13:46

I have a high resetting heartbeat too, I think it's a mix of being an anxious person and a side effect of some medication. It doesn't take much for me to feel like it's racing, it takes a bit of getting used too! They haven't ever found anything either on tests.

It's sounds like you are being quite active it's hard not to compare yourselves to others. Energy levels in pregnancy vary so much. It's about finding the activity levels that you can manage.

I'm 26 weeks now and am only doing about 1500-2000 steps a day since lockdown and exercise videos a few times a week mostly just the 20 minute ones occasionally I manage to do two videos in a session. I could push myself to do more but I know I will suffer later in the day or the following day. I would rather do little and often and try to remember that any movement counts.
I was doing more before the lockdown (~17 weeks) as my commute involved a 1mile cycle/walk to the station each way plus a 10 minute walk on the other side I was absolutely exhausted and if I had kept it up much longer I'm sure I would have been signed off sick. I feel much better with an activity program more in line with my energy levels.

Hodge85 · 13/05/2020 14:59


I am currently 35 weeks pregnant and I too am anemic and have thyroid issues although both are under control with medication but I still suffer heart palpitations. I think it could be due to the fact that we have an increase of blood in our bodies when we're pregnant and a surge of hormones which is what is causing it. Worrying will make it worse and I have found exercise doesn't really help with apart from going for daily walks. Try not to overthink it and just take it easy :)

Williams3001 · 13/05/2020 15:21

I can't speak for any type of arrhythmia, but regarding exercise I can tell you that an hour or cardio every day is not standard for most pregnant women! These are probably very fit people who exercised a lot beforehand, so not worth comparing. I consider myself reasonably fit and I wasn't doing that much even before I was pregnant.

If you want to do a little more, you could look for some yoga exercise videos, to add along with your normal stretching videos. Many prenatal-specific videos aim to strengthen the muscles we'll need for labour and keep joints limber. I like the Andrea Bogart prenatal yoga flow videos on YouTube but there are lots on there to choose from.

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