How To Handle Chest Pain During Pregnancy ? (Guest post)
Some women may experience chest pain during pregnancy. While this can be scary it’s actually pretty common as long as the pain isn’t paired with shortness of breath. As with any worrisome sensation during pregnancy bring this up to your doctor so they can do a proper evaluation and determine whether or not the pain is normal or if there is a more serious problem. Here, you’ll find some of the common causes of chest pain as well as some treatment options.
Causes of Chest Pain during Pregnancy
Chest pain during pregnancy isn’t really considered a pregnancy symptom but it can be caused by other common symptoms. It can also be caused by other factors that may affect you differently during pregnancy. Here are some of the common causes of chest pain during pregnancy:
It’s common to experience heartburn and indigestion all through your pregnancy. This can be caused by eating specific foods, indigestion, and gas.
The factor behind this is progesterone which relaxes your esophageal sphincter so stomach acid can come up too much.
Similarly, indigestion happens when gas gets trapped in your chest and causes pain. This can get worse as you get further in your pregnancy.
2. Pressure from Baby/Changing Body
As the fetus grows in size your body has to adapt to its size. Your organs shift and that can cause discomfort and chest pain. Your baby can push on your ribs and diaphragm as they move, too, which will cause pain. Similarly, your rib cage will widen to accommodate to all of the changes in your body. This causes pressure and sometimes pain.
Pregnancy isn’t easy and life still goes on so stress is common. This can cause muscle tension that can lead to chest pain.
4. Growing Breasts
During pregnancy, your breasts will naturally swell and grow. This can sometimes cause chest pain and even shortness of breath. This pain will usually subside as your body adapts to these changes.
If you have asthma pregnancy can exacerbate it a bit. You may experience more chest pain than usual and might find that you need your rescue inhaler a little more than usual. You should also talk to your doctor to discuss other options.
Serious Causes of Chest Pain during Pregnancy
Even though chest pain might be common and it usually isn’t a sign of anything serious you should still tell your doctor about it. There’s a possibility that it could be something more serious that needs to be dealt with. Some of the serious causes of chest pain during pregnancy are:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
This is when a blood clot forms in a vein or artery in the leg or pelvis. It will cause severe chest pain as well as pain and burning in your leg. You will also experience other symptoms like swelling in your leg. This is serious and needs to be dealt with because the clot can dislodge and travel to your lungs causing a pulmonary embolism.
- Coronary Heart Disease
When plaque builds in your arteries and they become too narrow to allow proper blood flow you can experience chest pain. This needs to be treated by your doctor immediately since it can lead to a heart attack when left untreated.
- Heart Attack
Chest pain is a symptom of a heart attack along with other things like numbness in your extremities, sweating, and lightheadedness. If you have any of this with your chest pain seek medical attention immediately.
Treatment for Chest Pain during Pregnancy
If your doctor decides that your chest pain isn’t from anything serious, there are plenty of treatment options that you can follow on your own to help you deal with pains in your chest. Your doctor might tell you to take specific vitamins like iron, magnesium, or calcium but there are other things you can do along with that including stress relieving techniques like prenatal yoga. Some other tips for chest pain management are:
Improving your posture
By actively working on how you sit and stand you can help combat minor chest pain that can occur during pregnancy. By keeping your back straight you can combat chest pain that is caused by growing breasts or caused by pressure from the growing baby. When you work on your posture you’ll be taking pressure off of muscles and relieving pain as best as possible.
Rest in general can make you feel better when pregnant. If you’re under stress, resting will allow your body and mind to recuperate enough where the stress-induced chest pain will subside.
Sleeping on your left side
When you go to sleep try lying on your left side. This will increase blood and nutrient flow to the placenta for your baby. It will also help your own blood flow throughout your body which will help with pain management.
Change your diet (avoid trigger foods for indigestion/heartburn)
If your chest pain is from heartburn or indigestion you can combat this by changing up your diet. Monitor the foods that you eat and look to see what causes the pain. Once you find out what is causing the problem you can eliminate those foods from your diet for the time being. You may also notice that eating at specific times (right before you lie down, before taking a walk/being active) also causes this pain. If that is the case, make a point not to eat at those times.
Eat smaller meals more often instead of three larger meals
Similar to the previous point, you might find that eating smaller meals instead of large meals cuts down on your heartburn or indigestion. Try six small meals throughout the day instead of the usual three meals.
Take prenatal vitamins and other recommended supplements properly
Your doctor will prescribe prenatal vitamins for you to take throughout your pregnancy. Make sure you take those as recommended. They may also tell you to take specific supplements including calcium, folic acid, or magnesium. If anything is recommended, take it as you’re supposed to in order to combat the pain.
Drink soothing drinks
There are certain beverages that can help combat chest pain, especially the pain caused by heartburn and indigestion. Sip on ginger tea, warm milk, chamomile tea, or coconut water for relief from chest pain.
Munch on almonds
Almonds have a high oil count so they’re able to neutralize stomach acid that might be the cause of your chest pain. In the case of heartburn/indigestion-induced chest pain, snacking on almonds can help. As a bonus, they can provide you and the baby with important nutrients, too.
- You may also be given medications to deal with your chest pain if your doctor deems it appropriate. If it is determined that your chest pain is a cardiovascular problem you may be prescribed specific medications that will treat that problem. Similarly, if you have asthma or other breathing problems you will likely be prescribed an inhaler or other medications that will alleviate the symptoms.
If you are experiencing chest pain during pregnancy you likely have nothing serious to worry about but be sure to tell your doctor to make sure that it is nothing severe. If you find out that you aren’t dealing with a more serious issue like the ones listed earlier, try out some of the home treatment options on your own.
I’m Anna Smith, chief editor at Healthankering. I'm a proud mother of three passionate about health tips, beauty and ways to live healthier with more energy ! We start Healthankering to provide advanced material about not only the best ways to get healthy, but also to entertain and create a great community.
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Chief Editor at Healthankering