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You are here : home > Pregnancy Month by Month > Fourth Month of Pregnancy > Breathlessness and Nose Bleeds during Pregnancy

Breathlessness and Nose Bleeds during Pregnancy

Breathlessness and nose bleeds are the health problems which can be observed during pregnancy. Read on to find the causes responsible for breathlessness and nose bleeds and tips for coping with these health issues.


I cannot breathe at times. Is this due to pregnancy?

Yes. In the 2nd trimester, the hormones swell the capillaries of the respiratory tract and relax the muscles of the lungs and bronchial tubes. Besides this, the growing uterus pushes up against the diaphragm, making it difficult for the lungs to expand fully. This leads to breathlessness. But if the breathlessness increases in severity, you require immediate medical attention. 

It is quite common to feel breathless during pregnancy. During the initial stages of pregnancy, hormones increase the breathing rate to meet the growing needs of your body. As the womb or the uterus begins pressing the diaphragm towards the lungs in the later stages of pregnancy you will experience some breathlessness, particularly if you happen to be carrying your baby high.

Although you may feel that you are not getting fresh air for breathing, breathlessness is absolutely harmless and quite normal during pregnancy. You need to keep a watch and take precaution only while exercising.


What causes breathlessness during pregnancy?

Breathlessness can start in the first or second trimester of pregnancy.

The pregnancy hormone progesterone makes the body adapt the manner in which it absorbs oxygen into the bloodstream via the lungs. As a consequence, the body becomes very sensitive to the levels of carbon dioxide (which is the gas that we breathe out) in the system.

These changes effectively imply that the body does a better job of processing oxygen and carbon dioxide during pregnancy. The body continues to breathe at the same rate as it did before conception with the only difference being that with each breath, you breathe much more deeply. This is the prime cause of breathlessness in pregnant women.

Some of the other factors which can cause breathlessness in pregnant women include environmental factors like hot humid weather, increased levels of pollution, smog, overcrowded trains or buses, and poorly ventilated areas.


How long will the feeling of breathlessness last?

In majority of women who are pregnant for the first time, the baby engages or drops down into the pelvis at around 36 weeks. This can significantly relieve breathlessness. In case of second or subsequent pregnancies, the baby drops much later because of which women feel breathless for longer.


What you can do to relieve breathlessness?

a) Eat a balanced meal and avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt.

b)      Engage in moderate form of exercise like walking, yoga or swimming every day.

c)      Breathing exercises like Pranayama and meditation are very effective in relieving breathlessness.

d)     Alternative therapies like acupressure and acupuncture are useful. However these must be done under the care and supervision of a qualified therapist.


My nose is congested and has started bleeding

High levels of estrogen and progesterone circulating in your body increase the blood flow to the mucous membrane in the nose. The congestion normally lasts till after delivery. Do not use nasal sprays to alleviate these symptoms without consulting your doctor. If you are suffering from nose bleeds, stand leaning forward and hold your nose with your thumb and forefinger for 5 minutes. If this does not help, call your doctor.

Your body goes through a whole lot of changes during pregnancy. You may have to put up with a number of discomforts of which nose bleed is one. Nasal congestion and nose bleeds are quite common during pregnancy. As a pregnancy develops, the blood volume increases in the body. This combined with hormonal changes happening in the body results in nasal problems. Pregnant women often complain of feeling congested, sinus headaches, and frequent nosebleeds.


How to stop a nose bleed?

To stop a nose bleed it is best to sit down and pinch the end of the nose. Keep your head erect without tilting it back. You must hold the end of the nose for around 5 to 10 minutes for the blood to clot and stop the flow of blood.

You can also apply ice on the nose. It will help to constrict the blood vessels and stop the bleeding.

In case your bleeding does not stop even after 20 minutes of pinching the end of your nose or if you are having severe bleeding you must immediately consult your doctor,

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