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Breathe Easy, Mama-to-Be: Understanding Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy

Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy

Understanding Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy: Reasons

Congratulations, mama-to-be! Pregnancy is a beautiful journey filled with joy, anticipation, and changes. As your body goes through various transformations to accommodate your growing baby, you may experience some discomforts, and one common symptom that may catch you off guard is shortness of breath.ย Do not worry. We have got you covered.

In this article, we will explore what causes shortness of breath during pregnancy, whether it is normal, and what you can do to ease your breathing and enjoy this precious time to the fullest.

Understanding the Causes of Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, your body undergoes numerous changes to accommodate your growing baby. These changes can impact your respiratory system, leading to shortness of breath. Some of the main causes of shortness of breath during pregnancy include:

1. Increased progesterone levels:

Progesterone is a hormone that rises significantly during pregnancy. It helps relax the smooth muscles of the uterus, but it also relaxes the muscles of the respiratory tract, leading to reduced lung capacity and increased breathlessness.

2. Pressure on the diaphragm:

As your baby grows, the expanding uterus puts pressure on the diaphragm, the muscle responsible for breathing. This pressure can restrict the movement of the diaphragm and make it harder for you to take deep breaths.

3. Increased blood volume:

During pregnancy, your body produces more blood to support the needs of your growing baby. This increased blood volume can cause your heart to work harder, leading to an increased respiratory rate and shortness of breath.

4. Changes in posture:

As your belly grows, your center of gravity shifts, causing changes in your posture. This altered posture can affect the mechanics of breathing and make you feel breathless.

Is Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy Normal?

shortness for breathe during pregnancy

The good news is that shortness of breath during pregnancy is usually considered normal and is often a temporary condition.

It is a common symptom that many pregnant women experience and is typically not a cause for concern.

However, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to your shortness of breath, such as asthma or other respiratory issues.

Coping with Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy

While shortness of breath during pregnancy is usually normal, there are several steps you can take to ease your breathing and feel more comfortable.

1. Practice good posture:

Maintaining good posture can help optimize the mechanics of breathing. Sit up straight and avoid slouching to allow your lungs to expand fully.

2. Take frequent breaks:

Avoid standing or sitting for long periods without moving. Take breaks to walk around or change positions to relieve pressure on your diaphragm.

3. Use relaxation techniques:

Deep breathing, relaxation exercises, and yoga can help calm your body and mind, improve your breathing, and reduce the feeling of breathlessness.

4. Stay hydrated:

Drinking enough water can help thin out the mucus in your respiratory tract and make it easier to breathe.

5. Sleep on your side:

Sleeping on your side, particularly your left side, can help relieve pressure on your diaphragm and improve your breathing. Use pillows to support your back and belly for added comfort.

6. Avoid triggers:

If you have any known triggers for shortness of breath, such as allergies or asthma, try to avoid them as much as possible during pregnancy.

7. Take it slow:

Pace yourself and avoid overexertion. Listen to your body and take breaks when you feel breathless.

8. Seek medical advice:ย 

If you’re concerned about your shortness of breath or if it becomes severe or persistent, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider. They can evaluate your condition and provide personalized recommendations for managing your symptoms.

An insight from Mamahood

Shortness of breath during pregnancy is a common symptom that many expectant mothers experience due to various changes in the body. While it is usually considered normal, it can be uncomfortable and worrisome. However, by understanding the causes, knowing that it is often temporary and manageable, and following the recommendations mentioned above, you can ease your breathing and enjoy a healthy pregnancy.

As moms, we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do it all but remember that it’s okay to take it slow and prioritize your health and well-being during pregnancy.

Remember, you are creating a miracle within you, so take care of yourself, listen to your body, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider or Mamahood Health Advisors if you have any concerns about your breathing, as they are there to support you on this journey. Soon, you will be holding your precious little one in your arms, and all the discomforts of pregnancy will be worth it!

Our References

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2019). Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period. Committee Opinion No. 804.
  • Mayo Clinic. (2020). Shortness of breath during pregnancy: What to do?
  • American Pregnancy Association. (2020). Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy.
  • Cheng, P. J., Dolasia, K., & Bhattarai, M. (2017). Physiologic and anatomic considerations in the pregnant patient requiring respiratory support. Seminars in Perinatology, 41(6), 344-349.
  • Sharma, S. K., Banga, A., & Dhiman, A. (2018). Pregnancy and the lungs. Annals of Thoracic Medicine, 13(1), 1-8.
  • American Lung Association. (2020). Pregnancy and Lung Health.
  • March of Dimes. (2018). Pregnancy Symptoms: Shortness of Breath.

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