Maternal low heartbeat, link to miscarriage?

I was only 6 weeks pregnant when I suffered my miscarriage last year, and like any woman who has gone through this I have analysed myself over and over to see if I could have done anything to prevent it. In order to move forward, I accept that there is little I could have done (other than lose some weight maybe) but recent events have made me consider that there may be something going on that I have little control (or understanding) over.

About 4 years ago I had a strange ‘incident’ where my symptoms made the hospital suspect I was having a stroke (numbness of arm moving up to my face, inability to talk, inability to see properly). I was admitted and seen to immediately, and although my symptoms eventually disapeared, they noticed my incredibly slow heart beat; it was about 29 bpm. They wanted to keep me in because of this fact alone, but due to the fact that no other physical symptoms accompanied the slow heart beat, I was allowed to leave, knowing that many tests lay ahead of me. During the subsequent year I had a brain MRI scan (no sign of a stroke…but possible evidence of a cabbage), an angiogram (where they follow injected dye in my heart via a monitor and I got to see my heart pumping on telly!), an echocardiogram (put jelly under my boob and move a scan thingy around, whilst I lay with my arms behind my head thinking of England) and a 24 hour ECG recording (which monitored my hearts’ rythym over a day). The final conclusion was that my funny turn had been a migraine with acute aura, meaning that I get the extreme, weird side effects as opposed to a headache, and that my heart beat was ‘normal for me’. ‘My heart shows ectopy, and I have sinus rhythm with occassional ventricular unifocal ectopy, and my consultant cardiologist is not concerned by this’. Well I don’t know about you, but that is just gobbledy-gook to me, but the bottom line is it’s nothing for me to be concerned about, nor do I have a ‘heart condition’.

Well on Monday when I was admitted for my knee surgery and having my heart rate taken, I was rather anxious. The nurse was aware of my ‘funny’ heart dance, but said “Oh my that is low, it’s 39”. This surprised both my husband and I as my anxiety would surely cause my heart rate to rise…wouldn’t it? The nurse agreed. Even more strangely, after surgery having my follow up ecg, my heart rate was a normal 72. So we have discovered that when I’m anxious my heart rate drops, which is the exact opposite of the rest of the human species as far as I’m aware.

This has then led me to consider if this is an issue when pregnant, as we know how important blood flow is in the early days as the clinic always mention it and make sure I’m taking aspirin to thin the blood. So my little brain is thinking “did my heart rate drop when I was pregnant? Is that why I lost my baby?”

So this is what I’ve found out on the Internet;

Maternal Heart Rate

The normal heart rate for a nonpregnant woman is around  70 to 85 beats per minute. To support the expansion of her blood volume that  occurs with pregnancy, the mother’s heart rate must rise to an additional 10 to  15 beats per minute. Generally, if you are pregnant and your heart rate is less  than 60 beats per minute, your doctor should evaluate you thoroughly for any  underlying cardiovascular or other medical issues.

Read more:

I will be seeing my doctor soon to have my stitches out of my knee so I know I’ll run this by her. Am I just clutching at straws, deperate to find a reason for my miscarriage? Or could there be something in this? What if nothing can be done for me anyway? Oooh, don’t you just love the constant questioning??!!

One thing that I am sure of, I must control my anxiety, or at least avoid it when possible. I happen to know the cause of my anxiety, but as it is work related, it is very difficult to ‘avoid’ completely. What I will do, is look into seeing a counsellor who can help me to address difficult situations at work, and maybe I will try and be pro-active and approach the person directly…..maybe.

So I am curious. Has anyone else had a heart rate issue, or heard of anyone with such a condition? I honestly couldn’t find out too much on the Internet so if anyone knows anything I would be everso grateful. There’s lots of info on the baby’s heart rate but not the mothers.

Thanks everyone and take care x


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Laura on May 29, 2014 at 6:44 am

    I am not sure how long ago uou posted this . But I am currently pregnant and have just started experiencing palpitations and my hr is 55 at bed lying down. Which freaks me out completely. Meanwhile I also experienced very low Bp while anxious like 53/33 (while pregnant) . So maybe I have something similar. I am In ok shape but I am in no way an athlete so don’t get it.


    • Unfortunately I never found anything concrete out about heartrate and being pregnant. My GP (who is a wonderful lady) reassured me to trust my body to do what is necessary, and prioritise the baby, which made sense to me so actually helped. I think sometimes not knowing causes more anxiety but sometimes it’s knowing too much. I guess my advice to you would be all the obvious that you may already be doing; listen to meditation podcasts (they’re fantastic at getting you to focus and see the bigger picture), don’t drink anything other than milk, water and teas (avoiding caffeine and fizzy drinks), do gentle exercise everyday (like walking and ‘sofa’ aerobics), eat protein rich foods and organic meats. I was going to put ‘try to relax’ but that’s just the most annoying thing anyone can say to us! 🙂 But what I have to do when I need to relax (and I don’t relax easily) is to start a jigsaw. I just find the mundane repetitiveness addictive.
      Lastly, HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to you xxxxx Don’t worry about losing what you have……love every minute of it x


  2. Posted by Jenny on June 20, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks and had a low pulse and low blood pressure the entire time. My baby had a strong heart rate at the 8 week sonogram and everything looked great. It was shocking when I started bleeding suddenly at 12 weeks. Reading your post definitely makes me wonder if it had something to do with my cardiovascular situation. I’m pregnant again (11 weeks… fingers crossed) and I’m having the same issue. My pulse is in the 40s and my blood pressure is around 80 over 40. I’m seeing a perinatologist next week and I’m going to inquire about this issue.


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