Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
Does maternal diet affect fetal heartrate?
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Does maternal diet affect fetal heartrate?

I am in my 38th week of pregnancy with baby number two.  At my last appointment my little girl's heart rate was very arrhythmic.  We couldn't go 15 seconds with out an arrhythmia.  I confessed I ate a mini Snickers bar in the car on the way to my appointment, but I was told that would not affect the baby's HR.  I was sent over to the hospital and monitored for almost 50 min, things seemed fine.  My doctor wanted to be sure so she sent me to see a specialist the next day.  After a two hour ultrasound/ echocardiogram the baby was pronounced okay, everything looked fine.  I don't drink coffee or sodas/ colas that could potentially affect the baby.  But the specialist say no more sugar, including carbs, and natural sugars in fruit.  Meat and veggies.  I only have two weeks to go, but could my diet affect my baby's hear rate?  I an cut out junk food, but do I need to be as strict as no fruit, pasta, milk, or bread?
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Dear Kodiakmom,

Without assessing what kind of an arrhythmia your baby was having, it is difficult to say what to do for it.  The most likely thing that your baby was experiencing, though, is an early beat, such as a premature atrial or ventricular contraction.  These are quite common, especially in the second trimester.  They usually resolve by the third trimester, but can last into early infancy.  As long as they are infrequent and not happening in strings of fast heart rates, these are benign.  They are also likely not related to your diet beyond caffeine intake, stimulants, nicotine, or certain over-the-counter medications.  If this is what is happening, I would certainly recommend eating appropriately, keeping your weight/blood sugar/blood pressure normalized, and otherwise not have specifc dietary restrictions.
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Jeffrey R Boris, M.D.Blank
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA
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