Shortness of breath during pregnancy is a common complaint in many women. Let’s ponder over the causes and remedies for this seemingly health aberrant, in this article.
Shortness of breath is experienced by many women during pregnancy. In almost all cases, this is quite normal, just as the other pregnancy symptoms, such as morning sickness, nausea, bloating, food cravings, etc. The breathing of all women normalizes once they deliver the child. However, it can cause great discomfort as long as it lasts. So what causes this? Let’s understand this first, followed by the various measures that can be undertaken to overcome it.
The period of gestation is a prelude to lots of hormonal changes affecting the body in different ways. An increase in hormonal levels, specifically that of Progesterone, affects the lungs. Progesterone also affects the respiratory center in the brain. These changes increase the amount of oxygen that is needed by the body. Although the number of breaths a pregnant woman takes in a minute remain the same, the air and oxygen she takes in increases to a great extent. This causes breathlessness in her during early pregnancy, and continues throughout the gestation period.
Shortness of breath during later pregnancy, could be accounted to the growing size of the uterus. When the uterus grows, it causes tremendous pressure on the diaphragm. This makes breathing a little difficult for the pregnant woman. Carrying multiple fetuses may also be an added factor causing breathing changes. A woman who is carrying a multiple fetus is more likely to experience difficulty in breathing compared to a woman who is carrying a single fetus. The term ‘carrying low’ means that the baby has dropped into the pelvis, and thus, the uterus no longer puts pressure on the diaphragm, allowing the woman to breathe normally. Congestion of excessive amniotic fluid has also found to be another causative factor for shortness of breath.
Shortness of breath is a very normal thing to experience during pregnancy. A doctor should be consulted if this feeling is accompanied by other symptoms such as rapid breathing, heart palpitations, pain in the chest upon breathing, blue or pale looking skin around the lips, fingers and toes, fever, asthma, or chills. All these symptoms indicate a medical problem, and hence, a doctor should be consulted without delay. However, to get relief from the condition, the measures suggested below can be undertaken.
Doing breathing exercises at home is one of the ways to counter this condition. You can start by taking a deep breath, as if inhaling from the stomach. Inhale as much as you can, preferably till the count of three. After that, hold your breath for two seconds and then exhale slowly, by counting till six or more.
Enrolling yourself for a yoga class and doing yoga regularly is a good way to overcome your shortness of breath. Join such yoga classes which teach the various breathing techniques and help you to become aware of your breathing patterns.
Besides the remedies given above, it is very important that you do not indulge in activities which make you physically stressed, and even if you do, take adequate rest and breaks in between to avoid complications. Shortness of breath is something you should not be worried about, it will go on its own, just give it some time.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.