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Breathlessness in pregnancy

Updated: Apr 24, 2019

Feeling short of breath is common in pregnancy. But this could be a warning sign of serious condition.

You may be out of breath because of more oxygen demand in pregnancy and your body will adapt to meet this new demand. Progesterone hormone stimulates your respiratory center in your brain.

Feeling short of breath in early pregnancy may be due to heightened awareness of the need to breathe. Later in pregnancy, your breathing is laboured from the pressure of your growing womb on your diaphragm. Breathlessness can also be aggravated by asthma or anaemia.

This symptom is usually harmless to both you and baby. However, beware of chest infection (pneumonia), asthma or pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs). Seek medical attention if the breathlessness is worsening or associated with fever or chest pain.

You may get some breathing relief a week before you pop due to engagement of the baby's head into the pelvis AKA lightening.

Tips to ease the breathlessness

#1 Keep an upright posture

An erect posture will give your lungs more space, so, try standing and holding your hands above your head as you take deep breaths.

#2 Light exercise

Try light walking or swimming to make you more fit. It's best to remain active. Your baby will get more oxygen as you exercise. However, if you get really breathless at rest, or after only some activity, mention it to your doctor.

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