Heart rate fast heartbeat or rapid pulse

Throughout pregnancy your heart pumps more blood, faster, than it does normally. This helps meet the fetus's needs for oxygen and nutrients, which are carried in the blood through the placenta.

As the heart pumps 30 percent to 50 percent more blood, your heart rate speeds up as well. Your heart beats progressively faster throughout pregnancy. By the third trimester, your heart rate may be 20 percent faster than it was before you were pregnant.

■ Medical care for fast heart rate

Because of increases in blood volume, many pregnant women develop heart murmurs. Their occurrence is normal because more blood is flowing through your heart valves. Occasionally, however, the murmur may sound different enough that your health care provider will investigate the cause. Heart murmurs can result from changes in the heart valves, as in mitral valve prolapse, or from damage caused by rheumatic fever.

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