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It is said that pregnancy puts added stress on your heart. What cardiovascular changes occur during pregnancy and how is the heart able to deal with them?

During pregnancy, the blood volume increases dramatically, probably by about 40 to 50 percent. That’s a large blood volume for a woman, but amazingly, the body compensates very, very well.

During early through middle pregnancy, a woman running up a flight of stairs will notice that her heart’s pumping away and she’ll get a little lightheaded. Her cardiovascular system is taking some time to compensate. As the pregnancy progresses, she will have to be aware of these changes and actually slow down so that the symptoms have some time to settle down a little bit. The increased blood volume is a pretty big load on the heart and lungs. But women are made to actually compensate for that.