Chest pain while pregnant is mainly due to hormonal changes, which is the most frequent cause of pregnancy-related symptoms. However, such pain may have many different reasons and can occur at any time during pregnancy.
It is not necessarily considered as one of the common early pregnancy pains. Moreover, symptoms of chest pain can vary considerably from a pregnant woman to another and from one medical condition to another.
With increased breast glandular tissue, pregnant women may feel pain with pressure or with slight contact with the chest, a sensation of heaviness in the mammary glands that can be experienced even without Touche.
In some cases, particular sensitivity in the nipples; sensations very similar to pre-menstrual pain in the chest. Other symptoms such as nausea and stomach pain may also follow for some pregnant women.
Pain sensations often end at 10-12 weeks of pregnancy. But nipple sensitivity becomes more marked during milk production, which is closer to the end of the third trimester, as well as after the child’s birth.
While chest pain is not necessarily abnormal, It may sometimes confuse. It is always recommended to contact your doctor if you experience such pain since it may indicate serious conditions or complications of pregnancy.
Causes of Chest Pain During Pregnancy
Chest pains most often occur during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, the increased production of estrogens, progesterone, and prolactin affects breast sensitivity in the first few weeks of pregnancy.
Breasts volume increases, and so do the milk secretion channels, which can lead to tightness sensations and even sharp pain. In addition, there are other possible factors that also can cause chest pain during pregnancy:
Heartburn and Acid Reflux
Progesterone hormone usually causes some of this by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter; a valve that normally blocks food and gastric acids escaping from the stomach through the chest.
This allows gastric acid to rise, which can also be manifested by indigestion, gas or by eating certain foods and often results in pain and discomfort.
Increased blood flow during pregnancy, as well as hormones released in preparation for breastfeeding often cause breathing difficulty and pain in the chest area.
In this case, discomfort that pregnant women describe as chest pain is actually breast pain. Breasts start to change and prepare to breastfeed especially during the first and third trimesters.
Pressure of The Growing Baby
As the baby gets bigger, most women experience pressure on the ribs or diaphragm, especially in the third trimester, which can also cause chest pain.
Widening of Rib Cage
The rib cage will tend to widen gradually during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. The Growing baby puts additional pressure on your ribs, muscles, and diaphragm.
This may create tension around the chest, breathlessness, as well as chest pain. This can become more intense for a pregnant woman when the baby moves, kicks her ribs, or when he is stretching.
Stress can occur at any time during pregnancy and can manifest as various physical and mental disorders. In addition to muscle tension, headache, and back pain, intense stress is also a common factor causing chest pain.
Serious Causes of Chest Pain
Possible serious causes of chest pain while pregnant may include heart attack and blood clot. If you think you may have any of these conditions, call or ask someone to drive you to the emergency room.
Symptoms of a heart attack may include pain or discomfort in the middle of the chest. Pregnant women may also feel pain in one or both arms, jaw, neck, stomach or back.
A blood clot may form in the legs or pelvic area. When this happens the leg may feel hot and probably swells. The clot can move to the lungs, causing a fatal disease called pulmonary embolism that can result in chest pain with breathing difficulties.
During pregnancy, there is an increased risk of blood clots when you smoke, you are fat, you are over 35 years old or you have heart or pulmonary diseases.
When Should You Consult for Chest Pain While Pregnant?
Some chest discomforts could just be your growing uterus pressing against your diaphragm, feeling like your chest is really full may be quite normal. However, severe pain definitely refers to calling your doctor immediately.
Call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms: Fever, dizziness or unusual sweating, sudden pain with cough or shortness of breath, serious breathing difficulties, fast pulse, persistent vomiting and numbness in the arms.
Sudden and sharp chest pain, accompanied by a feeling of heat or swelling in one or both legs, may indicate a risk of blood clot development.
Intense pain in the middle of your chest that comes and goes and lasts only a few minutes each time, as well as soreness in one or both arms, jaw, neck, stomach or back may indicate a heart attack.
Call your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms even if your chest pain is not severe. The specialist will answer all questions related to this subject separately after the examination.
5 Steps To Reduce Chest Pain During Pregnancy
The following suggestions can help you manage chest pain during pregnancy unless you have an underlying medical condition.
1. Wear an Adjusted Sport Bra
Many pregnant women find that wearing a comfortable sports bra with an adjusted size at all times helps to reduce chest pain associated with the increased breasts volume. Avoid tight bras, which compress your breasts.
To reduce discomfort caused by heartburn and acid reflux, try eating smaller quantities of food more frequently rather than three large meals, avoid spicy or fatty foods, and sleep with your head and shoulders elevated on pillows.
3. Sleep on Your Left Side
Sleep on your left side to prevent the baby’s growth from exerting additional pressure on the major organs and blood vessels.
4. Manage Stress
Try stress relief techniques such as yoga, stretching, and gentle exercises. You can also consult a therapist if you experience unavoidable stress during your pregnancy.
Rest as much as possible by pausing frequently during the day and avoiding heavy-weight lifting.
While in the majority cases, chest pain while pregnant has relatively safe origins, decisions can only be taken by your health care provider.
Keep safe and protect your baby by checking regularly with your doctor or midwife about any chest pain you may have during pregnancy.Featured Image Designed by Yanalya / Freepik