Why Do Some Pregnant Women Have Trouble Breathing? (for Parents)

During pregnancy, it is common for women to experience various changes and symptoms that can impact their daily lives. One symptom that is particularly concerning for pregnant women is shortness of breath when lying down. This can happen due to the changes that occur in the body during pregnancy, such as the growing size of a woman’s uterus and the increased pressure on the abdominal organs. While this symptom is usually not a cause for alarm and can be normal, it is still important to be aware of potential underlying causes. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes and management of shortness of breath during pregnancy when lying down. We will also review potential treatments and lifestyle changes that can be implemented to minimize this symptom.

Some of the most common causes of breathlessness in pregnancy:

  • If you’ve gained a lot of weight, or you’re expecting twins or multiples.
  • At the start of pregnancy, your ribcage becomes broader. Although this gives greater lung capacity, the release of progesterone into your body allows your body to more easily absorb oxygen from your bloodstream via your lungs. This can make you feel breathless because your body is more sensitive to the carbon dioxide that you breathe out
  • Nearer the end of pregnancy, your baby and uterus can push up against your your diaphragm and ribcage, pressing on your lungs and making it more difficult to breathe
  • When baby moves into a different position, it can apply pressure to your lungs and cause breathlessness
  • If your breasts have gotten larger in pregnancy, sometimes the extra weight, as well as that of your growing belly, can make breathing more difficult
  • Some women get pregnancy induced asthma
  • Asthma induced by pregnancy
  • If your baby is laying on the vena cava (right-side artery), this can lead to breathlessness, a natural way your body forces you to wake up and change to a position that’s better for baby
  • Some mothers find that heavy meals and indigestation can lead to breathing difficulties
  • High blood pressure can cause breathlessness
  • When can I expect the shortness of breath to end?

    Here’s something to look forward to: When your pregnancy is over and your baby has dropped into your pelvis, you might feel noticeably less out of breath. This “lightening” pre-labor event will make space for your lungs.

    What can I do about shortness of breath during pregnancy?

    There are some things you can do to help ease this typical pregnancy symptom a little bit, even though you can’t completely cure it:

  • Stand as straight as you can. Proper posture gives your lungs a little more room to do their job.
  • Sleep propped up on your left side. Sleeping on your left side is the best for circulation during pregnancy, and propping yourself up with pillows may also help with shortness of breath.
  • Go easy on yourself. You can definitely still go about your daily activities and continue exercising during pregnancy. Trusted SourceAmerican College of Obstetricians and GynecologistsExercise During PregnancySee All Sources [2] Just listen to your body and dont push yourself too hard.
  • FAQ

    Why is it hard to breathe when I lay down pregnant?

    Breathing may also become more difficult as your enlarging uterus takes up more space, resulting in pressure against your diaphragm (the muscle below your lungs). As your baby “drops” lower into your pelvis as you near delivery, you should start to be able to breathe a little easier.

    What helps with shortness of breath due to pregnancy?

    You can relieve symptoms by giving yourself and your lungs as much breathing room as possible. Try adjusting your body position. Stand up straight, sit up tall, and sleep propped up on pillows to expand the space in your abdominal cavity.

    Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy: When to Worry | Parents

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