Shortness of breath is a common problem experienced by many pregnant women. Breathlessness is mostly associated with the later stages of pregnancy, especially the last trimester.
However, many women encounter this problem even during the early stages of pregnancy. This is usually not a major problem and is caused in the early stages of pregnancy by increased levels of the progesterone hormone. In the last trimester, as the baby grows your uterus expands in size which pushes the other organs up.
Your lungs thus have less space to expand when you breath, resulting in breathlessness. Though not a serious condition, you must report breathlessness to your doctor. Certain health conditions such as asthma can worsen the situation. If you are asthmatic, you will need special medical guidance to relieve breathlessness during pregnancy.
Whenever you experience shortness of breath, it is a good idea to stop or slow down whatever activity you are doing. Rest in a comfortable position till you feel normal. When sitting, sit upright.
This will give your lungs more space to take in oxygen and relieve breathlessness. While sleeping at night, put some extra pillows below your head. This will prop you up and help easy breathing, decreasing pressure on your lungs. Certain breathing exercises and yoga can also be beneficial in countering this problem during pregnancy.
Though exercise and workout during pregnancy are recommended, you must take it easy if you are experiencing shortness of breath. You can try light exercises such as swimming which will keep you fit without putting too much strain on your body.
You must call your doctor immediately if you experience severe breathlessness accompanied by chest pain, hear palpitations or dizziness. Fever or chills and worsening cough should also be reported to your health care practitioner as these symptoms when experienced in combination with breathlessness can indicate a serious medical condition such as pneumonia.
Breathlessness is likely to get better as you approach your due date. Breathless usually disappears about 2-3 weeks before your deliver. This happens because the baby drops down to the birth canal. This relieves the pressure on your lungs, making breathing normal.