You have chest pain during pregnancy, you worry, is this another normal pregnancy symptom or more? Chest pain during pregnancy can be alarming, but it’s not uncommon. There can be many reasons for this, and often it has nothing to do with your heart.
But in rare cases, chest pain while pregnant can be linked to a serious health problem. Request chest pain during pregnancy and what you need to know about when to see a doctor.
- Symptoms that may accompany chest pain during pregnancy
- Causes of Chest Pain in Early Pregnancy
- Morning sickness
- Asthma during pregnancy
- Painful burning sensation in the chest
- Gas pains and bloating during pregnancy
- Causes Chest Pain During Pregnancy? Other Causes
- Breast pain
- Rib pain
- Lung blood clot
- Serious heart conditions
- How Is Chest Pain Relief During Pregnancy? Natural Remedies at Home
- When Should You See A Doctor For Chest Pain During Pregnancy?
- Medical treatment for chest pain during pregnancy
Symptoms that may accompany chest pain during pregnancy
Especially as your pregnancy progresses, all changes and shifts in your body can increase your heart rate higher than normal. Your growing baby can also push your stomach and lungs.
For this (completely normal) reason, besides your chest pain:
- shortness of breath
- heart palpitations
- fast heart rate
- low blood pressure
Causes of Chest Pain in Early Pregnancy
The excitement of a new pregnancy can quickly turn into anxiety and stress if you’re just beginning to show and experience physical changes, or if it’s your first pregnancy after a miscarriage in your previous pregnancy.
You may be feeling stressed or anxious, or even having a panic attack. This can happen at any time during your pregnancy, but especially when you’re still getting used to the idea of a new (challenging) bundle of joy or when you’re worried about your baby’s health. All these sensations can give you physical symptoms such as chest pain.
You can also have:
- chest tightness
- feelings of tension
- rapid breathing
- Concentration difficulty
Sometimes the first symptoms of pregnancy 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 to produce when you get pregnant.
All the nausea and vomiting can sometimes cause temporary weight loss or even dehydration.
Severe morning sickness during pregnancy can cause chest pain. You may feel chest pain when acidic vomit irritates your throat repeatedly. Continuous gagging can also cause muscle pain by tiring your stomach and chest muscles. How Is Nausea And Vomiting During Pregnancy? You can browse our article.
If you have asthma during pregnancy, you may get worse. This can give you asthma symptoms that are more severe than you are used to, and can lead to chest tightness, shortness of breath, and chest pain during pregnancy.
Lung infections, colds, severe allergies, or pneumonia during pregnancy can also cause chest pain. Chest pain from lung problems can occur at any time, including in the first trimester.
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. Pain can go up to your throat.
Chest pain that occurs due to heartburn during pregnancy is caused by the acid from the stomach splashing into the esophagus, the tube that goes from the mouth to the stomach.
Higher levels of progesterone hormone may be responsible during pregnancy. This hormone relaxes the rounded sphincter muscles that normally cover the opening in the upper part of the stomach. This leakage, as well as the extra urge in the stomach as your baby grows, causes heartburn and chest pain during pregnancy.
Although heartburn is more common in the second and third trimesters, some women also occur in the first trimester.
Gas pains and bloating during pregnancy
It can cause bloating, smells, and sounds you hope no one else will hear. Gas can also cause chest pain during pregnancy. This is sometimes called indigestion. Indigestion occurs when gas is trapped in the upper part of your stomach. If you have gas, you may experience chest pain in the lower or upper part of your breast close to your heart to worry you.
Pregnancy chest pain caused by gas is more common in the second or third trimester as your growing baby pushes his stomach upward. However, it may happen earlier in the first trimester.
Causes Chest Pain During Pregnancy? Other Causes
Pregnancy makes you more sensual as your body prepares to feed your baby. Hormonal changes during pregnancy mean you can go up to several bra sizes! This can cause chest pain during pregnancy.
Chest pain from growing breasts is usually worst during the third trimester, but you may experience chest pain or breast tenderness from the first trimester.
You know that your body undergoes 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. In addition, deep breathing can make it painful in the late stages of your pregnancy.
Lung blood clot
A blood clot or pulmonary embolism (PE) in the lungs is a rare cause of chest pain. But this is serious. This life-threatening condition occurs when a blood clot causes a blockage in the lungs.
You are at higher risk if you are overweight or obese during pregnancy and have a history of blood clots or genetic disorders that predispose you to clotting, such as factor V Leiden. Pregnant women may experience pulmonary embolism during or after childbirth. In very rare cases, it can occur in the late third trimester of pregnancy.
Pulmonary embolism causes symptoms such as:
- chest pain when breathing deeply
- pain when coughing
- rapid heartbeat
- leg swelling
Important: If you suspect that a blood clot may occur, notify a doctor immediately.
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).
Important: While these conditions are unlikely, it is always important to let your doctor know if you have chest pain so they can be ruled out.
How Is Chest Pain Relief During Pregnancy? Natural Remedies at Home
Most causes of chest pain during pregnancy are normal. You won’t need medical treatment. Depending on the cause of your chest pain, you can sometimes help soothe with home remedies.
Tips for chest pain while pregnant include:
- Try meditating, listening to soothing music and imagining holding your baby in your arms if you are worried.
- Eat several smaller meals to relieve nausea and vomiting.
- Avoid spicy food.
- Avoid other foods that can make your heartburn worse.
- Avoid eating foods that make you gas, such as processed foods and sugary foods.
- Drink ginger tea to help soothe nausea.
- Use cold compresses to relieve swelling and muscle pain.
- Apply warm compresses or hot water bags to relieve muscle and rib pain.
- Sleep or lie down on a body pillow to support extra pounds.
- Lie on your side to help reduce the pressure on your chest and lungs.
- Choose a comfortable bra that is not too tight.
When Should You See A Doctor For Chest Pain During Pregnancy?
See your doctor right away if you have severe chest pain that does not go away, or if you have other symptoms while resting or even lying down. Some pregnant women can develop high blood pressure and other conditions that can affect the heart.
Get emergency medical help if available:
- severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- sudden shortness of breath
- chest pain that worsens when coughing
- heart palpitations
- rapid heartbeat
- extreme nausea and vomiting
- blurred vision
- dark urine or peeing less than normal
- leg or ankle swelling
- leg or ankle swelling on one side only
- swelling of the face or any part of your body
- calf muscle pain or leg pain
Tell your doctor if you have chest pain during pregnancy and have had varicose veins or blood clots. Also, 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. If it occurs in your family, you may be at a higher risk of having a pulmonary embolism.
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 be signs of a more serious health condition. Tell your doctor if you have severe symptoms or if you don’t feel completely right.
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 or if the underlying cause remains or is serious, your doctor may recommend medical treatment.
Medication or 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 often can help prevent blood clots in your legs and elsewhere in the body. Your doctor may also prescribe a blood-thinning medication called heparin to help prevent blood clots after your baby is born.
If you have blood pressure problems, you may need medication or a medication adjustment that only your doctor can prescribe.