Causes & Symptoms Of Shortness Of Breath During Pregnancy




As your pregnancy proceeds, your body goes through tremendous changes making you feel tired, heavy, lethargic, dull, and weak and difficulty in moving, sleeping and breathing too. Yes, shortness of breath or the feeling of breathlessness is very common in pregnancy and often shows up after second trimester.

However, a lot of women feel short of breath even in the early phases of pregnancy. The feeling of breathlessness is so peculiar that some women may panic with the on start of this condition, which makes the matter even worse.

Symptoms of Breathlessness

Shortness of breath or Pregnancy dyspnea, as called in medical terms is a common pregnancy condition and more than 60% of pregnant women experience this at some stage during pregnancy. Shortness of breath is not really a dangerous condition and is totally harmless. It certainly does not mean that your baby is getting lesser supply of oxygen.


Some of the common symptoms of dyspnea occur when you do activities like climbing stairs, brisk walk, cleaning, dealing with kids or any other activities that make you feel a little tired and exhausted. It starts with a feeling of being suffocated and a sudden rush of heat and sweat. The feeling is short lived and may go on its own after a few minutes.

Shortness of Breath- Common Causes

One of the commonest causes of shortness of breath during pregnancy is the increasing size of uterus that puts pressure on the diaphragm and the which in turn pushes your lungs, making you feel short of breath and scarcity of oxygen.

Another reason is the increased level of pregnancy hormones in your body may make you take longer breaths, to provide more oxygen for the baby, leaving you feel short of breath often.

Shortness of breath in First Trimester

The feeling of oxygen deprivation though less common in first trimester, may result due to marginal increase in progesterone levels in the body. The extra secretion levels of pregnancy hormones help expand the lungs and make them more functional to draw huge quantity of oxygen to the baby through your blood. This often results in scarcity of oxygen and difficulty in breathing.

Shortness of Breath in Second and Third Trimester

As you enter the second trimester, the breathlessness feeling increases because of numerous reasons. As the pregnancy progresses, the weight of the baby grows rapidly and the uterus also stretches and gets bigger, expanding and exerting pressure on the diaphragm and pushing lungs, making it hard to breathe comfortably.

In the later stages, that is after week 34th or 35th as the baby settles in pelvic area, it needs more room for expansion and movement, the pressure on diaphragm may increase resulting in shortness of breath. However, this is a typical pregnancy condition and gets better after delivery of the baby.

Tips to get relief from breathlessness

Do not Panic:

First and the most important thing is not to panic when breathlessness strikes. Panicking and feeling nervous may aggravate the condition. Avoid pushing yourself too hard to breathe. Remember it is a harmless condition and normally gets over after delivering the bay. Under no circumstances will it harm your baby. The baby is getting proper supply of oxygen.

Take slower breaths and relax or lie down in a comfortable position. If you find it difficult to breathe while doing your normal walking or routine work, it is advisable to discontinue doing it and sit down at a place and relax. Do not continue exercising or walking while you are still breathless. Settling down and taking slow breaths would help you regain your previous posture

Improved posture

Whenever you feel short of breath make sure to sit or stand with a straight back and allow the lungs to expand and breathe in more oxygen. Do not slouch or sit in an inverted position It would be better if you lie down with a propped pillow on a flat surface.

Your sleeping posture is also important. Use some extra pillows in the night to support your body specially shoulders and the upper body portion. Sleeping on your left lateral side, it would make breathing easier or you as well as baby.

Take Proper Rest

It is important to take proper rest during this phase. Do not pile on extra work on yourself. Try and take help from family members or any other good support system. The more hectic routine you will follow, you are more at risk of breathing difficulties and tiredness all the time. Slow down your normal pace and learn to take things easy. Overworking or any type of physical exertion may not be good for your and baby’s health.

Wear comfortable clothes

Avoid wearing tight clothing or accessories that surround the waist and the chest portion. Tight clothes may compress the lungs and may increase the difficulty in breathing. Also wear light clothing made of natural fibers like cotton that would help in proper air circulation.

When to consult your doctor

Although shortness of oxygen and breathlessness is very common during pregnancy, yet you need to be alert regarding any strange symptom or abnormal breathing during this phase. Be careful if you experience any of the following symptoms accompanied with breathlessness:

Severe chest pain while doing any vigorous or normal activity. Dizziness or the feeling of faintness and darkness in front of the eyes. Chest congestion followed by severe cough or blood spits and blue colored fingers and nails. Difficulty in breathing, followed by palpitations or sweating.

Often breathlessness and dizziness is a sign of low hemoglobin levels and anemia, which can be ruled out with a routine blood test and examination. Also, females with a history of Asthma, pneumonia or any other lungs based respiratory disorder in the family may suffer from shortness of breath more often and are at a greater risk than others who are not affected by the disease. If you feel you have the tendency to get an asthma attack, it is better to talk to your doctor earlier and be prepared for an emergency.

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Causes & Symptoms Of Shortness Of Breath During Pregnancy

Causes & Symptoms Of Shortness Of Breath During Pregnancy

As your pregnancy proceeds, your body goes through tremendous changes making you feel tired, heavy, lethargic, dull, and weak and difficulty in moving, sleepin





Causes & Symptoms Of Shortness Of Breath During Pregnancy
Causes & Symptoms Of Shortness Of Breath During Pregnancy

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