Why You Might Be Having Chest Pain During Pregnancy (and What to Do)

Far less common, chest pain during pregnancy could be associated with certain concerning health conditions, such as high blood pressure (otherwise known as gestational hypertension), pre-eclampsia) or a potential heart attack. In this case, your doctor will closely monitor your blood pressure, blood work and fetal well being. They might suggest bedrest and (if it’s a cardiac problem) monitor your heart. Under severe circumstances, the doctor might recommend delivering baby early.

When to Seek Help

It’s understandable to think that chest pain during pregnancy, or even trouble breathing, is instant cause for alarm. But the truth is, that’s not always the case—as many as 70 percent of pregnant women have difficulty breathing simply because of the physical changes they’re experiencing as baby grows. “This makes it difficult to diagnose medical emergencies, such as a pulmonary embolism or heart attack,” Ruiz says.

Trust your gut. Most chest pain in pregnancy is benign, but if something doesn’t feel right, call your doctor—especially if you experience pain without warning or if it’s severe. Sudden, sharp chest pain as you breathe, accompanied by shortness of breath and nausea, can be a sign of a blood clot to the lung. Chest pain that radiates to the left arm or jaw, sweating, dizziness, visual changes, and/or nausea may be a sign of a heart attack. Get to the doctor right away.

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