Shortness of Breath in Pregnancy

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Pregnancy no doubt is moment filled with many occurrences, moments that are easily absent following successful delivery. One of such moments is shortness of breath often experience by the pregnant women. It can be harder to breathe and catch your breath during pregnancy. Many women feel breathless during pregnancy and that is not only from the excitement of creating a new life. In the first trimester, increased levels of progesterone may make breathing a bit difficult at times as your body adjusts to new hormonal levels. In the third trimester, your lungs and diaphragm suffer a space crunch as your uterus expands upward, making it harder to take a deep breath.

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Causes of shortness of Breath

In the third trimester of pregnancy, your growing baby pushes your uterus against your diaphragm (the muscle under your lungs that contracts and relaxes in the breathing cycle). The diaphragm is moved up about 4 cm from its pre-pregnancy position. Your lungs are also somewhat compressed. All this means that you are unable to take in as much air with each breath.

This does not mean, however, that you are getting less oxygen. At the same time that your lung capacity decreases due to the physical constraint of a growing uterus, the respiratory center in the brain is stimulated by progesterone (a hormone released during pregnancy) to get you to take slower breaths. Although each breath may bring in less air, the air stays in the lungs longer so you extract the oxygen you and your baby need. Your body also expands your blood volume during the pregnancy to make sure your baby is also getting enough oxygen.

Remedies to shortness of breath in pregnancy

The most important thing to do is to give yourself and your lungs as much breathing room as possible- stand up straight, sit up tall, and sleep propped up on pillows to expand the space in your abdominal cavity. When you feel breathless, slow down- rushing makes your heart and lungs work harder. And finally, don’t worry too much about your shortness of breath- both you and your baby are getting enough oxygen to stay healthy.

Management of Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath can be uncomfortable. There are ways that you can breathe more comfortably:

Maintain good posture at all time

Stand up straight with your shoulders back and your head lifted. Visualize a straight line connecting your sternum towards the sky to lift your chest.

Exercise

Relaxation

Symptoms that requires medical attention

Asthma: no doubt you already know if you have asthma before you get pregnant, and you may already know that asthma can get worse during pregnancy.

Anemia: In some cases, anemia: this is insufficient iron in your blood which can cause shortness of breath. Other symptoms of anemia include fatigue, headache, and a bluish tint to your lips and fingertips..

Pain or Persistent Cough: if you feel pain while taking deep breaths, experience fast breathing, or sense an increase in your pulse, contact your doctor immediately.

 

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