Chest Pain during Pregnancy

Pregnant women may experience Chest Pain which can be mild or complicated. It may be because of certain foods or the changes occurring in your body during pregnancy causing Chest Pain.

Is Chest Pain normal during pregnancy?

Discomfort in the chest area is common during pregnancy because of the changes in hormones, blood circulation and weight of the uterus and fetus. The main reason for chest pain is indigestion leading to the formation of gas around the chest area.

Causes

  • Indigestion and Heartburn: Certain foods cause indigestion (gas problem) and heartburn during pregnancy where the pain may sometimes feel similar to heart attack symptoms starting in the lower breastbone and moving upwards. Heartburn is more of a burning pain leading to a burning sensation in the back of your throat.
  • Infection: Chest infection is a major cause of chest pain and is essentially the disease of the airways.
  • Rib cage widening: During pregnancy, the rib cage widens because of the pressure put by the growing baby creating muscular tension in the chest coupled with shortness of breath.
  • Stress: Taking too much stress may result in chest pain
  • Change in breast size: The breast changes cause the muscles to strain around the chest area causing the pain
  • Aortic dissection: It is a tear in the wall of the aorta leading to aortic rupture resulting in chest pain
  • Peripartum Cardiomyopathy: A cardiac condition where the heart muscles become weak which is often rare after delivery or a month before it
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis: It is a severe medical condition referring to a blood clot in a deeper vein with leg or pelvis.
  • Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome: SADS is risky for pregnant women as it leads to heart failure making it erratic.

Other Serious Causes

Serious causes of chest pain include deep Vein Thrombosis, heart attack, Ectopic pregnancy and coronary heart diseases. As per the studies, symptoms of congenital heart disease including heart murmur is becoming common day by day. According to the experts, the developments in the medical field may be a vital factor in promoting congenital heart diseases to survive and reach childbearing age. Also, planning a baby over 28-30 years of age increases the risks of many cardiac complications.

Other Causes

  • Cold, cough
  • A headache
  • Asthma
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Heart attack

Symptoms

  • Chest pain accompanied by fever
  • Shortness of breath, dizziness, and unusual sweating
  • Chest pain that radiates out either arm
  • Sudden pain in the chest while having a cough or breathing problem

The differential Diagnosis for Chest Pain

Severe Chest Pain may indicate,

  • Coronary ischemia
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Inflammation of the pericardium (Pericarditis)
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal)
  • Pleuritis (Inflammatory disease involving the pleura of the lungs)
  • Progesterone induced ligament laxity and muscle

How to prevent Chest Pain?

  • Use a cushion beside you while lying which helps in breathing freely
  • Don’t sleep soon after eating a meal
  • Maintain a good posture
  • Deal with the things easily and do not panic or overtime
  • Eating small meals at regular intervals prevents acidity, heartburn, GERD, etc.
  • Avoid taking stress
  • Stay away from oily and caffeine that causes indigestion and bloating
  • Practicing mild exercises during pregnancy is good for you as well as your baby
  • Maintaining a properly balanced diet is must for avoiding problems like gas, heartburn, etc.
  • Quit smoking
  • Use prenatal supplements daily
  • Wash your hands with warm water to avoid infections
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks as they dehydrate

Home Remedies to avoid Chest Pain

  • Drinking Slippery elm tea three times a day is helpful in chest pain
  • Drink Chamomile and ginger tea once in a day
  • A glass of Warm milk with honey
  • A cup of coconut water works as an effective acid neutralizer
  • Include almonds in your diet as they aid digestion
  • Consume a small amount of apple cider vinegar mixed with the water to prevent acid reflux
  • Drink two teaspoons of caraway seeds liquid mixed in some boiling water

Treatment

The treatment may include increased intake of supplements such as iron, calcium or magnesium in your daily diet. It’s better to contact a healthcare practitioner to prevent such a situation.

Chest pain occurring due to serious complications seek immediate medical attention where the doctor would prescribe medications for a healthy pregnancy. Apart from the causes mentioned above other conditions including asthma, pleuritic chest pain, difficulty in breathing, digestive disorders, and cardiovascular diseases require instant medication.

When to seek the doctor?

Consult the doctor if you experience:

  • Heart attack
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Blood clotting
  • Tearing of the arteries near the heart
  • Heart problems
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (A blood clot in the leg causing swelling)
  • Unbearable pain in the left side of the heart
  • Swelling in one or both the legs indicating the DVT disorder
  • Chest pain accompanied by cold sweating, dizziness, constant vomiting and shortness of breath
  • Pain in the chest while coughing, sneezing or breathing
  • Severe burning sensation in upper chest

Women who smoke are at higher risks of heart problems during pregnancy with symptoms like:

  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Trouble breathing

Tips for Expecting Mothers

  • Do not take any medicines without informing your doctor as it affects the baby
  • If you have bronchitis or pneumonia consult the doctor soon to avoid the symptoms
  • By taking plenty of Iron, Calcium, and Vitamins in your diet you can avoid chest pain

Chest pain ICD-9 & ICD-10 codes

  • ICD-9  786.5
  • ICD-10 R07

References

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