Risks of Tachycardia

Tachycardia is the quickening of the beating of the heart above normal limits, which is more than 100 beats per minute (bpm). Slight elevation of the heartbeat up to an additional 10 to 20 bpm is considered a normal variation because physiological changes brought about by pregnancy can cause tachycardia in pregnancy. However, there are also instances in which an underlying comorbid condition causes tachycardia in pregnancy. Prolonged and sustained tachycardia poses many risks to the pregnant mother and the unborn child.

Risk for Myocardial Infarction

Myocardial infarction or heart attack is a fatal risk of tachycardia in pregnancy. An elevated heart rate reflects that the heart is having a hard time to pump out blood from the heart into the other parts of the body. This leads to an elevated blood pressure also. These conditions are not conducive to the heart of the mother and can lead to a heart attack that may lead to death.

Poor Blood Circulation in the Baby

When the heart pumps rapidly, it has no time to fully eject the blood with each pump. Thus, a faster rate of heart beating means that there is a smaller amount of blood that gets delivered with each pump. In line with this, the circulation of the blood to the baby is compromised when tachycardia occurs in pregnancy. Note that the baby is highly dependent on the mother for nutrients and the only way that nutrients are transported from the mother to the child is through blood flow in the placenta to the baby.

Thus, if blood circulation is compromised in the mother due to tachycardia, blood circulation in the baby is also compromised. When the baby is compromised in its intrauterine environment, the fetus could go into distress and may cause pre-term labor and delivery. This complicates and risks the life of both mother and fetus because the adequacy and normalcy of blood volume and blood flow are very important in pregnancy, more so during labor and delivery.

Difficulty of labor and delivery

A pregnant woman with tachycardia is anticipated to have difficulty during labor and delivery. This is because the mother’s blood supply is compromised because of this arrhythmia. Because of the mother’s condition, the possibility of having a normal delivery is decreased because the mother will be put to more stress during normal delivery. With more stress, the heart needs to pump more blood that will increase or further worsen the existing tachycardia. Thus, a cesarean delivery may be opted for the mother to have a safe delivery of the child.

There are many risks posed by tachycardia during pregnancy. Both mother and unborn child are affected by this medical condition. Awareness of these risks are important so that pregnant mothers will be able to monitor themselves and consult medical help if they suspect they have this health problem for immediate interventions and to avoid further complications.