You may have noticed a change in your breathing pattern since you became pregnant. You may find that sometimes you feel short of breath or are more aware of a need to breathe. This change in breathing usually starts early in pregnancy, but it can slowly seem worse late in pregnancy. It may get worse after mild exercise or any strenuous activity.
What is the cause?
Usually, it is caused by the changes that happen to your body during pregnancy. Hormonal changes and the size of the baby can make you feel short of breath.
What should I watch out for?
If you are pregnant and have shortness of breath, itâ€™s very important that you talk to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will decide if your shortness of breath is normal or if itâ€™s because of something else.
If you have had breathing problems in the past, due to asthma or another condition, be sure to let your healthcare provider know. If you have a sudden change in your breathing or begin gasping for air, you should call your healthcare provider right away.
How can I take care of myself?
If you suffer from mild shortness of breath due to normal pregnancy, here are some tips:
Rest for a short time when you have trouble catching your breath during activities such as walking, climbing short flights of stairs, or carrying packages.
Use good posture when sitting or standing to improve your ability to breathe normally.
Use pillows to support your head and shoulders if you have trouble breathing during the night.
Talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms and concerns.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2015-01-12 Last reviewed: 2014-12-08
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Trouble Breathing during Pregnancy: References
Swartz, M. H. (2014). The Pregnant Patient. Swartz, M.H. (Ed.)Textbook of physical diagnosis: history and examination. (7th ed.)(651-670).Saunders.
Khorasanee, J. & Kippenhan, M. (2013). The Healthy Pregnancy. Adams, J.G. (Ed.) Emergency Medicine (2nd ed.)(1015-1022). Saunders.