Hard to breathe during pregnancy


A condition in which it is difficult to breathe during pregnancy is usually temporary and not dangerous for the future mother and her baby. We are talking about the physiological dyspnea of ​​pregnant women, which can appear at any time.

However, the lack of air during pregnancy can also include such conditions as lack of hemoglobin in the blood, malfunction of the cardiovascular system and other problems. Therefore, the expectant mother must inform the doctor in the antenatal clinic about the dyspnea that occurred.

Usually, a woman complains that it is difficult to breathe during pregnancy on the background of long walking, climbing steps and physical work. This is a completely normal condition, which is caused by an increase in physical activity and can occur in any healthy person. But if a woman notices that it is difficult for her to breathe, even during rest, it is necessary to consult a doctor. Next, consider the pathological causes that require medical supervision.

Why not enough air in the early stages?

Breathing problems may haunt a woman from the first months of pregnancy. They usually appear at 6-7 weeks.

The reasons explaining why it is hard to breathe in the early stages during pregnancy are:

  • pronounced toxicosis,
  • hormonal changes,
  • diseases of the heart and blood vessels
  • anemia,
  • stress and neurosis of pregnant women,
  • pathology of the respiratory system.

These factors usually lead to insufficient saturation of the body with oxygen. Dyspnea, which forms with time, is not as noticeable and dangerous as an acute lack of air.

If the physiological dyspnea of ​​pregnant women is considered a natural process, then the pathological causes require compulsory elimination at the planning stage of pregnancy.

Why not enough air in the later periods?

If a woman has become harder to breathe during pregnancy in the second and third trimester, this may be due to both physiological and pathological reasons.

Breathing problems in the second half of pregnancy may develop against the background of the following factors:

  • an increase in the volume of the uterus, and the associated excessive pressure on the internal organs, such as the lungs and the diaphragm,
  • excess weight,
  • lack of hemoglobin in the blood,
  • chronic pathologies of the heart, blood vessels and respiratory organs,
  • catarrhal and viral infections,
  • wrong position in a dream,
  • lack of magnesium in the body,
  • smoking.

Cardiovascular and respiratory pathologies worsen the future mother's well-being. On their background, oxygen enters her body in insufficient volume, and therefore hypoxia (oxygen starvation of the fetus) develops. This condition is dangerous in that it can cause premature onset of labor, retarded development and growth, and even the intrauterine death of a child. Read more about fetal hypoxia, its consequences and treatment →

Is it normal to breathe heavily during pregnancy?

With the beginning of pregnancy, the functioning of the female body changes under the influence of hormones. It is necessary to support the life of the mother and fetus. Due to hormonal changes, increased metabolism, toxicosis and rapid growth of the embryo's tissues, a woman may notice that she has difficulty breathing from the first weeks of pregnancy.

Dyspnea in this case is physiological, as it is aimed at replenishing the increased needs of the body. If by the second trimester you are already breathing normally - this means that the body has been able to adapt to the new position.

In the third trimester, shortness of breath returns, as the enlarged uterus puts pressure on the diaphragm and lungs. A woman may experience difficulty in breathing up to the 38th week of pregnancy, after which the fetus sinks into the small pelvis and excessive pressure on the respiratory organs is stopped. A future mother during this period may notice that she is much easier to breathe.

In which cases to sound the alarm?

Dyspnea during pregnancy is more often a variant of the norm than pathology. Therefore, it is not necessary to be afraid of it.

But if the following symptoms were added to the breathing problems, it is necessary to contact the doctor immediately:

  • heart palpitations - tachycardia more than 110 beats per minute,
  • breathing is fast and hard
  • faintness, dizziness, tinnitus,
  • chest pain when inhaling,
  • blue lips
  • pale skin,
  • panic attacks,
  • fever, strong cough.

These symptoms can be a sign of the development of emergency conditions, such as pneumonia, respiratory and heart failure, asthma, pulmonary embolism.

For the expectant mother and unborn baby, they are dangerous by various complications, so when they appear, it is recommended to call an ambulance.

Which doctor to contact?

If a woman has a history of chronic diseases that may affect her respiratory function during pregnancy (for example, heart and vascular disease), consult a pulmonologist.

In serious situations, a chest x-ray is taken for diagnosis. In this case, it is not rational to fear fetal irradiation, since timely diagnosis and selection of treatment tactics are much more important than potential risk.

An unplanned visit by an obstetrician-gynecologist at a antenatal clinic should be performed by pregnant women who have experienced breathing problems primarily and do not have a serious medical history.

Even if the cause of this condition is insignificant, to be safe and find out why it is difficult to breathe during pregnancy will not be superfluous. The specialist will be able to determine the cause of the pathology, give the necessary therapeutic and preventive recommendations.

What to do?

The physiological causes of breathing problems do not adversely affect health.

They do not require special treatment, but you can follow a few tips that eliminate breathing difficulties:

  • Reduced physical exertion.
  • Frequent walks in the air.
  • Airing the room.
  • Sleep on the left side, in any case, not on the back and stomach.
  • The elimination of overeating and abuse of high-calorie foods.
  • Lack of anxiety, negative emotions, stress. Any adrenaline rush can cause breathing problems. Read more about the effects of stress during pregnancy and the fight against it →

If, despite the measures taken, it is still difficult to breathe during pregnancy, consult a doctor. The main sign of trouble is shortness of breath that occurs during rest. This condition may indicate the presence in the body of a woman of serious diseases.

In this case, the specialist conducts a diagnostic examination, which begins with a general blood test. If hemoglobin levels in the blood are reduced, the expectant mother is given iron supplements, a complex of vitamins and minerals, enriched with magnesium.

If, due to lack of air, a woman feels dizzy and sharp chest pains extending to her left shoulder or arm, it is necessary to call in emergency care. We can talk about heart failure, which threatens the life of the expectant mother and fetus. Fortunately, this is quite rare.


It is no secret that many health problems are easier to prevent than to overcome. And the state when it is difficult to breathe during pregnancy can be prevented, provided that it is not caused by pathological causes.

This will help taking multivitamins, walking in the fresh air, limiting physical and psycho-emotional stress, avoiding sharp perfume aromas, controlling weight gain, taking sedatives.

It must be remembered that the arisen breathing problems are not a cause for panic. Pregnancy is a physiological condition of a woman, not a disease. And many changes during it are quite natural. If breathing problems occur even at rest, you need to consult with your doctor to find out the reason why it is difficult to breathe during pregnancy, and to undergo the necessary treatment.

Author: Olga Rogozhkina, obstetrician-gynecologist,
specifically for

Why breathe heavily during pregnancy

Breathing problems, as a rule, appear in the seventh month, but may well appear earlier. Such changes can be given a logical explanation. Active growth of the uterus and baby is the cause of pressure on nearby organs.

First of all, of course, the stomach, intestines and bladder suffer. But the actively developing fetus can also exert pressure on the diaphragm. The more a child becomes, the greater the likelihood that it will be difficult for you to breathe during pregnancy.

In the last month, when the stomach starts to fall, you will most likely feel relieved. The good news is that far from all women experience severe shortness of breath and frequent shortness of breath. But with physical exertion, rapid inclinations, and other physical activity that is undesirable during pregnancy, one can become one of those who suffer from breathing problems.

How to cope with shortness of breath during pregnancy

With the onset of pregnancy, especially if you have one, your doctor should tell you about all kinds of changes in your body, including breathing difficulties. In addition, you should be given recommendations on how to behave in a particular situation, when you should remain calm and not panic, and when it is better to consult a doctor. If you have not heard all this, then in this article we will try to give you advice at least on how to deal with dyspnea during pregnancy.

First of all, you need to master new breathing techniques. If earlier you were not familiar with such a concept, now is the time. These skills will be useful to you in labor.

If you feel difficulty in breathing, you need to stand on all fours, inhale deeply and slowly, then breathe out deeply and slowly. Such exercises will have to be repeated several times a day to achieve the desired result.

Your position is very important in problems with breathing - try to lie as little as possible on your back, if shortness of breath appears at night - try to sleep half-sitting. During a severe lack of air, try to sit down or lie down, the most important thing is to change the position. Moderate exercise will be very helpful. The main thing in all respect the measure.

Try not to overeat, stick to a diet. Overeating promotes difficult breathing. Also do not forget about the need to walk in the fresh air - it is very useful for both you and your future baby.

If you have trouble breathing during pregnancy, even in a calm state, you need to talk with your doctor. Perhaps there are other reasons for this that are not related to the growth of the baby.

But in general - do not worry! Do breathing exercises, love yoga for pregnant women and smile more often. Be healthy!

Causes of difficult breathing during pregnancy

During pregnancy, absolutely all systems and organs work at an accelerated pace, and in the end, they turn into turbo mode. The child is not able to support his own life activity on his own - for him, his mother does it. Naturally, this is given to her not without difficulty. The cardiovascular system and organs of the digestive tract will undergo the greatest stress.

If everything is more or less clear with the heart - to pump blood 2 times more, then the organs located within the abdomen, in addition to the biological load, also experience physical. The growth of the fetus and uterus stiffens the organs, pressing against the sides and diaphragm. The larger the child, the more they shrink. This explains why there are pain and problems in work. In addition, the child consumes substances from the mother's body, depleting it.

Dyspnea in early pregnancy

Early dyspnea is rare. The cause is most likely anemia. It is a natural sensation when there is not enough air, if the hemoglobin transporting oxygen throughout the body is at a critically low level.

A weak body, not accustomed to physical exertion, will be difficult to endure pregnancy. The load will exceed the capacity limit. Dyspnea, severe fatigue, pain in the legs and back will accompany the future mother all the time.

Miniature girls with short stature, heavy breathing can be provided by the expansion of the uterus in the early stages. Due to the lack of a sufficient amount of “free” space, the organs will begin to squeeze much earlier, in contrast to women, with more curvaceous forms. All children develop with the same parameters in the mother in the stomach. The change in their growth occurs much later than the birth, depending on heredity, nutrition, climate and physical activity.

Another reason why there is not enough air can be toxicosis. Ways of manifestation of this disease mass. The chain reaction caused by this extremely unpleasant event can lead to shortness of breath.

Bouts of difficulty breathing in the later stages

The growth of the uterus is the first and most powerful cause of heavy breathing. Critical size of the uterus reaches in the third trimester. At this time, its volume displaces the abdominal organs to the maximum, and reaches the diaphragm. The pressure becomes noticeable, and gives a lot of discomfort. When you inhale, the body simply will not have enough space for the air consumed. Since the second half of pregnancy, most women, even physically fit and healthy, will have shortness of breath.

Heavy breathing will push the load on the heart, increasing with the growth of the child. In the third trimester, anemia is more likely.

In the later periods, the air costs for the needs of the child increase, along with the nutrients necessary for his growth. Due to the limitations of the lungs by squeezing and the blood costs of transporting nutrients, shortness of breath is natural.

With the growth of the abdomen, any physical activity will be perceived by the female body as a sports training, due to the double use of organs and resources. Brisk walking, climbing stairs, cleaning an apartment, or shopping will cause heavy breathing, fatigue, and throwing in sweat. There is nothing surprising.

Often, for childbirth the fetus changes its position and goes down, preparing for the exit. In such cases, the pressure on the diaphragm is reduced, facilitating breathing. Other suppressed organs also feel easier.

What to do with heavy breathing during gestation

The duties of a leading gynecologist include a warning about all possible deviations in the work of the female body during the gestation period. Including that it will be hard to breathe during pregnancy.

In cases where dyspnea is not caused by pathologies or diseases, there are a number of ways to alleviate the situation:

  1. Fresh air. If there is not enough air, simply increase its amount. Ventilate the room or go outside. Oxygen depletes its reserves in a closed apartment, so that even a healthy person is difficult to breathe. The percentage of active oxygen molecules with carbon dioxide that a person exhales is very important. It is not necessary to walk down the street or sit five meters from the busy highway. Exit or drive to the park or park would be the perfect solution - to sit on a bench in a calm atmosphere, leaving all worries, while the apartment is ventilated,
  2. Breathing exercises. Training complexes can be made up with a doctor or found on the Internet. Benefits weight - improving the body as a whole, setting up the work of the heart and lungs, which work to wear out at the deadlines, and rather confusedly, preparing for childbirth, during which proper breathing will facilitate the process and provide the child with necessary oxygen, because during contractions to think about how and when to breathe is unlikely to succeed. Training should start in the second half of pregnancy.when there is a load on the body. Regular classes will provide good health for the remainder of the period and facilitate childbirth and mother and baby,
  3. Gymnastics. Shortness of breath during late pregnancy is primarily caused by the pressure of the overgrown uterus. Knowing the law of attraction and the location of the organs inside a woman, you can relieve the pressure, though for a short while, to stand on all fours and relax the body. Physics will do its work, and the center of gravity will move, freeing organs from the press,

In addition, during sleep you can not lie on your back. Recommend to sleep half-sitting or on the side. It is best to change your position during the night.

Helpful: Maybe you can help special pillows for pregnant women.

  • rest will help ease breathing when walking. Need to sit down or lie down, to normalize the state,
  • panic also provokes breathing problems - it becomes heavy and confused. Calmness and poise must be maintained throughout the entire gestation period. Избегайте стрессовых ситуаций, а если они приключились – постарайтесь принимать в них минимальное участие, доверив решение проблемы близкому человеку, к примеру, мужу. Мята поможет вам успокоиться, читайте подробнее,
  • если одышка вызвана анемией или нехваткой каких-либо других ферментов, по рекомендации врача имеет смысл пропить курс восстанавливающих препаратов. Medical products can be used exclusively by the order of the gynecologist. On your own, you can diversify your diet only with food - pomegranates, meat, fish, fresh juices.

If you do not assume cases when heavy breathing is a symptom of pathologies, for example, heart failure, do not panic. This is the body's natural response to stress, which does not cause critical harm. Consultation with a physician, self-care and walking in fresh air will ease the symptom. Resist the fears and enjoy the future addition to the family.

Why is this happening?

A shortage of air, shortness of breath is experienced by almost all pregnant women, and even for short periods. Some cannot stay in stuffy rooms for a minute, like cold air and spend the night half-sitting. Dyspnea begins when walking, climbing stairs, performing normal household work and at the slightest excitement.

Dyspnea in pregnant women can be caused by a physiological cause. To maintain the life of the mother and fetus, the woman's body is rebuilt, and the volume of circulating blood becomes larger. The cardiovascular system learns to work in an enhanced mode, hormones change, metabolic processes are activated. It is harder for a woman to take a deep breath.

Often, shortness of breath is accompanied by palpitations and slight dizziness. Early pregnancy dyspnea can provoke chronic diseases, poor lifestyle, psycho-emotional experiences and bad habits. Even tense tight bras or synthetic clothes can cause tightness in the chest and lack of air, especially if the beginning of pregnancy occurs in the summer.

The inability to take a deep breath on the background of good health is not dangerous. But if such symptoms occur at rest and are accompanied by dizziness, fainting, it is better to consult a doctor. Perhaps the reason for the onset of anemia, hormonal imbalance or deficiency of minerals and vitamins.

By the second trimester dyspnea suffers every third pregnant. This is due to several factors:

  • the fetus has grown enough, and it needs more space, so the bottom of the uterus, rising up, presses on the diaphragm and lungs (the more it presses, the more shortness of breath),
  • increased volume of amniotic fluid (high water).

Most often, these symptoms develop in low women with large fetuses.

Woman will experience difficulty in taking a deep breath until about 38 weeks. After, closer to childbirth, the stomach falls, and it becomes much easier to breathe.

Normally, a woman’s respiratory rate is 16–20 breaths per minute. During pregnancy, oxygen demand increases by one third, so the frequency increases to 22–25 cycles.

How to prevent shortness of breath?

Completely get rid of breathing difficulties, most likely, will not succeed. But if you follow a few simple rules, you can prevent and control it:

  1. Dosing of any kind of physical activity. They must be adequate, not causing a rapid heartbeat. If you have shortness of breath - just relax.
  2. It is desirable to completely abandon caffeinated beverages. They increase blood pressure and excite the nervous system.
  3. Do not be close to smokers. With passive smoking, harmful substances quickly enter the bloodstream, the cardiovascular system of the woman and the unborn baby suffers from a lack of oxygen.
  4. Sleep in a cool, well-ventilated room with a humidity of 50-70%.
  5. On hot summer days, take walks only in the evenings, with the sunset.
  6. Avoid stuffy, poorly ventilated areas. Do not visit places with large crowds.
  7. Take cool showers several times a day.
  8. Do not overeat. During pregnancy only fractional nutrition is suitable: frequent, in small portions. Ideal: 5-6 times a day. Light breakfast is required.
  9. Follow the drinking regime.
  10. Avoid contact with perfume-scented products.
  11. Watch for weight gain. Gained extra pounds can be risk factors not only for shortness of breath, but also for hypertension, preeclampsia, oxygen starvation of the fetus.
  12. Do not worry, do not get upset about any reason. Even the slightest experience can provoke an attack of breathlessness.

If a woman is regularly observed at the doctor, her tests are normal, then difficulty breathing does not threaten the future baby, but creates only temporary discomfort for the woman herself. Need to be patient. Two to three weeks before the birth, the abdomen drops and it becomes easier to breathe.

Signs of serious complications

The main symptom that should alert the woman - dyspnea at rest.

What signs need urgently seek medical help:

  1. Exercise does not help, breathing remains difficult. There are bouts of strong cough.
  2. The attack is accompanied by pre-unconsciousness, dizziness, ringing in the ears and flashing flies before his eyes.
  3. The heart "jumps" out of the chest, tachycardia (heart rate over 100 per minute).
  4. The lack of air is accompanied by a sharp pain in the chest while inhaling, extending into the arm.
  5. Pale skin and mucous membranes, blue lips and fingers.
  6. Fever.
  7. Surrounding pain in the lower back.
  8. Panic attack, extreme arousal.

With such symptoms, diseases requiring emergency medical care develop: pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, bronchial asthma, acute respiratory, cardiovascular and renal failure, anemia.

Such cases are extremely rare. In general, breathing problems, especially in the third trimester, are a physiological and natural phenomenon. But if a woman cannot cope with the problem and relieve her condition on her own, it is better to consult a doctor.

What to do if you have a heavy breathing and shortness of breath during pregnancy

Within 9 months of gestation, the expectant mother experiences various discomfort and sometimes painful sensations. One of the frequent complaints is breathing heavily during pregnancy. Unlike most other sensations, this problem has a limited list of causes, and it does not carry anything critical for the health of the mother and baby.

Content of the article (table of contents)

Why is there not enough air during pregnancy and breathing heavily

Lack of air, as well as shortness of breath can occur in almost any person. The reasons for this phenomenon there are many. This usually happens with obesity, heavy physical exertion, and so on. However, often the lack of air cause disruption of the cardiovascular system. In addition, pregnant women often complain of shortness of breath. What is it?

What future moms are complaining about

Pregnancy is a difficult period for the female body. In this condition, he is experiencing enormous loads. Many during pregnancy do not have enough air. Women complain that they have difficulty breathing. They are saved only by frequent airing.

Many can sleep only in cool rooms. Otherwise, they just can not sleep. Women feel short of breath, they have difficulty walking, they just suffocate. So why is there not enough air during pregnancy? What is the reason for this and is this condition dangerous?

Most often, the lack of air occurs when walking fast, physical exertion, after climbing stairs, when performing a certain work. If breathing difficulties bother a pregnant woman even during the period of rest, you should seek help from specialists.

Why not enough air during pregnancy

Many suffer from dyspnea during pregnancy. But do not worry. This phenomenon refers to a temporary and can not harm the child or the expectant mother. This is due to the special condition of the body. The main reasons are:

  1. Low hemoglobin. Anemia during pregnancy is a frequent occurrence. As a result of the development of this disease, the amount of oxygen entering the blood is significantly reduced. As a result, the woman simply does not have enough air during pregnancy.
  2. Malfunctions of the cardiovascular system. The body of a pregnant woman is experiencing the strongest load. Even minor exercise can cause shortness of breath. If a woman has a cardiovascular dysfunction before pregnancy, then she may experience a lack of air at rest. Often this phenomenon is accompanied by fainting or dizziness.
  3. Lack of vitamins and minerals. Most often, the lack of air occurs when magnesium deficiency. In this case, a pregnant woman may experience tachycardia.
  4. Neurosis and constant stress.

How to solve a problem

If during pregnancy it is difficult to breathe, then it is worth contacting a specialist for advice. Normally, dyspnea in this state of the body is normal. But if the lack of oxygen is felt even during rest, then there is a risk of developing a serious illness.

To begin, the doctor must conduct a full examination. A pregnant woman should be given a complete blood count, which will determine the level of hemoglobin. If this indicator is low, then it may be prescribed an iron preparation or a complex of vitamins and minerals, which contains iron and magnesium.

If a pregnant woman feels a lack of air, as well as a sharp, sharp chest pain that gives to the arm or left shoulder, then you should immediately contact the medical facility for help. In this condition, the patient may turn blue lips. It is worth noting that such a phenomenon during pregnancy is extremely rare.

Early pregnancy

A lack of air can be felt in early pregnancy. This phenomenon occurs at 6–8 weeks. During this period, hormonal changes are noted in the woman’s body.

Most often during pregnancy there is not enough air in case of toxicosis. Many believe that this phenomenon is accompanied only by nausea and vomiting. In fact, toxicosis has other associated symptoms. This is heartburn, pain and heaviness in the stomach, a feeling of abdominal distention from the inside. Similar symptoms may occur in women at a later date. These symptoms appear during preeclampsia.

In early pregnancy, a woman may feel short of breath after eating. This is celebrated during the first trimester period. Women in such cases try to eat less. However, this does not solve the problem. After a meal, an unpleasant belching, pain in the stomach and heartburn may also occur. It is primarily associated with the production of growth hormone. This substance is intensively synthesized by the female body during pregnancy.

Last trimester

During pregnancy, air is scarce for almost all women. This condition is observed in the later periods, when the load on the body increases significantly. This can be explained by physiological changes:

  1. Enlarged uterus in size due to fetal growth.
  2. Pressure on other organs located in the abdominal cavity.
  3. Squeezing the lungs. Because of this, the respiratory system is not able to fully expand.
  4. The restriction of the diaphragm.

In some cases, a pregnant woman may feel short of breath and even suffocate. Most often, these symptoms occur in future mothers of short stature, as well as those who are waiting for the birth of a large baby.

If there is not enough air during late pregnancy, you will have to suffer a little. This is normal. About a few weeks before the birth, the fetus goes down and it becomes easier to breathe. After all, the uterus is below.

What to do with dyspnea

To relieve the condition of shortness of breath, you must:

  1. Relax, if the problem arose after exercise.
  2. At the first sign of dyspnea, doctors recommend standing up on all fours, completely relaxing and taking a slow breath, and then exhaling. You need to repeat this exercise several times.
  3. If during pregnancy there is not enough air, then you should relax with an open window or a window. At the same time in the room should not be drafts.
  4. Rest is half-sitting. For this you can use small pillows and rollers. In this case, sleeping on your back in the last stages of pregnancy is not recommended.
  5. Breakfast must be. Its absence can also cause a lack of air.
  6. Consult a doctor. You may be prescribed soothing and relaxing medicinal herbs, or you can prescribe aromatherapy using natural essential oils.
  7. Do not overeat, and watch for weight gains. Extra pounds also cause shortness of breath.

Worth gaining

If there is not enough air when breathing during pregnancy, then the expectant mother can practice a little. Relieve this state completely fail. However, if you wish, you can benefit. Experts recommend to perform breathing exercises for shortness of breath. This will allow a woman to learn how to breathe properly during childbirth.

It is worth noting that this practice will allow you to immediately perform several actions. A woman, due to shortness of breath, can learn to breathe properly in childbirth. In addition, breathing exercises can improve well-being when there is a shortage of air.

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Hard to breathe during pregnancy

During the long nine months of pregnancy, a woman has to endure many different inconveniences, difficulties and discomfort, because of what in the last stages of pregnancy seems to her already an eternity. All of them are associated with colossal changes. which the maternal organism undergoes, carrying the baby. This process continues from the first weeks to the last days, in connection with which some “side effects” are replaced by others.

Different women are not equally experiencing different sensations during pregnancy. Some are worried about heartburn, others - bloating. someone - constipation and swelling. Pruritus, pigmentation. stretch marks. back pain. lower back. feet. crotch venous mesh, nasal congestion and other manifestations may appear in turn or all at once. And in the last periods, especially shortness of breath. As the period increases, it becomes more difficult for the pregnant woman to breathe, and sometimes it seems as if there is not enough air at all - neither she nor the baby.