Cardiac Signs and Symptoms During Pregnancy

Cardiac Signs and Symptoms During Pregnancy

Signs and symptoms may occur during pregnancies that are often associated with cardiac disease; however, these symptoms may be normal. These symptoms include fatigue, fainting, chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing while sleeping and palpitations. Fainting may occur due to blood pressure and volume changes in pregnancy.

Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing while lying down may be due to the mechanical effect of the enlarging uterus as pregnancy progresses. Palpitations, or an awareness of the heartbeat, may occur because the diaphragm shifts up in the chest during pregnancy, causing the heart to sit higher in the chest. Any of these symptoms occurring at rest may be serious and due to underlying significant heart disease and should be further evaluated.

Although a heart murmur and ankle swelling may be associated with heart disease, these two symptoms also may occur during a normal pregnancy. Nearly 90 percent of pregnant women develop a heart murmur, which may be due to the increased volume of blood flowing through the heart during pregnancy. Pregnant women may develop underlying irregularities of the heartbeat that may be perfectly normal and can only be distinguished by specific cardiac testing.

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please call 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
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Referring Physicians
Open communication and cooperation with referring physicians is a critical component of achieving high-quality care and minimizing the challenges that come with treating cardiovascular conditions. For physician-to-physician consultation regarding the best patient care, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).


Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, please call 847.53.HEART (534.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital or Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, please call 630.232.0280

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials: