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Is it safe to get my heart rate over 140 beats per minute during pregnancy?

Experts Answers

Is it safe to get my heart rate over 140 beats per minute during pregnancy?
Raul Artal


Instead of trying to keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute, I recommend that you not engage in strenuous activities that could raise your core body temperature to over 103 degrees Fahrenheit during the first four to six weeks of pregnancy. That's because a very high body temperature early in pregnancy could theoretically cause birth defects.

Later in pregnancy, if you're not well hydrated or have an elevated body temperature, you risk premature labor. If you're exercising to keep your heart and lungs in shape, moderate exercise is all you need.
Jeanne-Marie Guise


You don't want your heart rate to go too high for too long or to exercise so hard that you get overheated. If you're healthy, you generally shouldn't raise your heart rate over 140 beats per minute while pregnant. You need enough time between beats to get blood to the baby, and as the heart rate goes up you don't squeeze out quite as much blood each time and the blood is not as well oxygenated.

You want to avoid getting too hot for a different reason: There's some concern that if you get overheated during the first trimester, it affects the baby's development; there's a slightly increased risk of problems like the baby's abdominal wall not closing all the way. Plus, as your body diverts blood to your skin to help you cool off; it's taking some of the blood flow away from your baby. It's also harder to cool down when you're pregnant, so if you get overheated, you're more likely to pass out. You'll know you've probably gotten too hot if you break a sweat and continue sweating. To keep this from happening, take frequent breaks and drink a lot of water.

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