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Joanne Van Zuidam

Chest Pain During Pregnancy

Wondering what that painful sensation in your chest is? Find out if those chest pains are normal and how treat them.

What is chest pain during pregnancy?

You might get pain or discomfort in your chest during pregnancy—and wonder what the heck it could be.

What could be causing my chest pain during pregnancy?

Some discomfort in your chest might just be your growing uterus pressing against your diaphragm. But if it’s more of a burning sensation, acid reflux or  heartburn might be to blame.

In rare cases, chest pain can be a sign of a blood clot or a heart attack, which are both very serious, says Karen Deighan, MD, FACOG, department chairperson of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital of Loyola University Health System.

When should I go to the doctor about my chest pain during pregnancy?

Discomfort or a feeling like your chest is really full is probably totally normal, but true pain definitely means you should call your doctor. If you also have numbness down your arm, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, you need to call your doctor—stat.

What should I do to treat my chest pain during pregnancy?  

If it’s just your uterus pressing against you, “there’s not a lot you can do about it until you deliver,” says Deighan. But it may help to lie on your left side while you’re sleeping and resting to take the weight of your uterus off your major blood vessels and help with your breathing. Also a good idea: Elevate your legs when possible and try not to recline right after you eat. If it’s something else, your doctor will help you relieve that particular problem.

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Photo: Getty Images
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