Is It Normal to Be Short of Breath During Pregnancy?
Although mild breathlessness can be less than comfortable, it’s totally normal. It’s also completely safe for your baby, who remains continually well-oxygenated via your placenta.
When Does Shortness of Breath Generally Start During Pregnancy?
Shortness of breath often starts during the second trimester of pregnancy. In the third trimester, breathlessness may increase as your baby continues to grow.
What Causes Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy hormones stimulate your brain to increase the frequency and depth of your breaths, so you take in more oxygen for your growing baby-to-be. Those hormones also swell the capillaries in your respiratory tract and relax the muscles of the lungs and bronchial tubes, making you feel like you’re sucking wind after a trip to the fridge.
Later in pregnancy, your uterus pushes up against your diaphragm as it grows. This compresses your lungs, limiting their ability to fully expand when you take a breath and causing you to feel like you’ve just run a marathon when you’ve only climbed a flight of stairs.
What Can I Do About Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy?
Though you can’t completely relieve this common pregnancy symptom, there are some things you can do to help ease it a little bit:
- 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, which is the best position for circulation.
- You can definitely still go about your daily activities and continue exercising during pregnancy. Just listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard.
- Whenever you can, take it easy (you deserve it!).
- Good posture: Keep your back and shoulders straight to give your lungs room to expand as much as possible.
Extra pillows: If breathlessness is disturbing your sleep, prop yourself up with more pillows.
- Lift your arms up: This will take pressure off your rib cage and allow you to breathe easily.
- Eat healthily: Being overweight can make breathing even harder, so eat a healthy diet to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight.
- Yoga: Breathing exercises that are taught during yoga classes may help you control your breathing better. Yoga is a gentle exercise that will also keep you fit.