Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Congestive Heart Failure after Childbirth Pulse Checks

If you have postpartum cardiomyopathy, it is important to learn how monitor your pulse at home.

The pulse may be taken in a few locations, but the most commonly used location is the wrist.

Locations for Taking a Pulse

  • Wrist: the radial artery is located in the wrist crease, on the thumb-side. This is an excellent place to measure the pulse.
  • Neck: the carotid artery lies on either side of the Adam's apple, just in front of the large muscle in the neck. Check the pulse on one side only: never press on both carotid arteries at the same time.
  • Elbow: the brachial artery is located in the elbow crease, on the inner aspect of the elbow, next to the bicep tendon.
  • Groin: the femoral artery is located in the crease between the thigh and the abdomen, halfway between the pubic hair and the hip.
  • Ankle: the posterior tibial artery is located on the inside of the ankle, right behind the prominent bone, called the medial malleolus.

In order to feel the pulse, place the tips of your index and middle fingers over the artery, and then press gently. Do not obstruct the flow through the vessel.

Interpreting Pulse Results
Count the number of pulsations that occur over 20 seconds, and then multiply this number by three. The result is the heart rate, or number of heartbeats per minute.

When measuring the pulse, try to assess the rate and the rhythm. Take note of an unsteady rhythm or extra beats. Report a rapid heart rate or extra beats to your doctor.

Normal Values for Resting Pulse
Age RangeAverage Beats Per Minute
1 month120-130
6 months120-130
1-2 years110-120
2-3 years100-110
4-5 years95-105
6-8 years90-100
10-12 years85-95
14 years75-85

Continue to Congestive Heart Failure after Childbirth Taking Control

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Congestive Heart Failure after Childbirth References
  1. Airoldi ML, Eid O, Tosetto C, Meroni PL. Post-partum dilated cardiomyopathy in anti-phospholipid positive woman. Lupus. 1996 Jun;5(3):247-50. [8803899]
  2. Bower M, Freeman LJ, Rickards AF, Rowland E. The automatic implantable cardioverter/defibrillator for a life threatening arrhythmia in a case of post-partum cardiomyopathy. Postgrad Med J. 1989 Dec;65(770):932-5. [2616435]
  3. Ng WH, Reid JM. Post-partum cardiomyopathy. Scott Med J. 1978 Jan;23(1):32-3. [635537]
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