Short of breath and pregnant

During pregnancy you may become short of breath. You have the feeling that you are not getting enough breath, you have to breathe in extra or deeply and sometimes you feel palpitations, headache or dizziness. Are these pregnancy ailments or is there more to it? Shortness of breath is not always harmless, but in most cases it is something that is simply part of pregnancy. Many pregnant women complain of shortness of breath. This can occur early in pregnancy, but more often it occurs towards the end of pregnancy. It is an annoying ailment that ensures that you are unable to do much.

What causes shortness of breath during pregnancy?

In the beginning of pregnancy, it is the pregnancy hormones that cause you to become short of breath. A lot of changes occur in the body during pregnancy, including increased blood volume. This encourages the lungs to inhale more oxygen. Some women inhale too much oxygen, causing hyperventilation. This causes a feeling of shortness of breath, tightness, sweating and sometimes panic.
Later, shortness of breath occurs mainly because the lungs are compressed. The baby is growing more and more and the lungs are, as it were, pushed up slightly. This causes the lung capacity to become smaller. The result is faster but shorter breathing. This can also cause a feeling of shortness of breath.

Becoming short of breath

Sometimes there is not only shortness of breath, but a real feeling of shortness of breath with the feeling of fainting or even suffocating. This can be very frightening. This creates panic with even more disordered breathing. This is how you end up in a vicious circle. It will not be the first time that a pregnant woman has urgently visited a doctor or emergency room in this way. The shortness of breath is mainly due to the stimuli in the brain. During pregnancy you may feel that there is not enough oxygen, causing you to breathe extra. The problem, however, is that there is no oxygen deficiency at all. The stimulus is disturbed by hormones.

Shortness of breath and palpitations

Palpitations are hearing your own heart beating, often irregularly or accelerated. Palpitations often occur during a panic attack, but can also occur as a result of lowered blood pressure. Blood pressure can easily drop during pregnancy when you lie on your back. When lying on the back, the heavy uterus compresses an important vein, resulting in a drop in blood pressure. It is best to assume a side position, with the left side being the most favorable position. Palpitations also occur in combination with hyperventilation. You often feel a tingling on your skin and you have the feeling that you are lacking oxygen. This is caused by too much oxygen in the blood. It is important to restore balance by breathing into a plastic bag several times, both inhaling and exhaling. A paper bag or, if necessary, a handmade bowl also works.
Another reason for palpitations and shortness of breath is the harder work of the heart. Due to the larger amount of blood in the body, the heart has to work much harder, which is sometimes palpable. This may be combined with shortness of breath. Do not exert any effort at these times and sit quietly for a moment to catch your breath. Women who are known to have heart problems or are heart patients should always be under the supervision of a cardiologist. Especially during pregnancy.

Headache as an additional complaint

When shortness of breath occurs in combination with headache, anemia may occur. This sounds strange, because during pregnancy there is much more blood in the body, right? This is true, but in anemia the level of hemoglobin. This is a protein that transports oxygen. Headache, shortness of breath, fatigue and dizziness often occur. Anemia can be easily treated with an adjusted diet or possibly by taking iron-containing tablets or pills (steel pills). Anemia can be prevented by consuming enough iron in the diet. Green vegetables, especially spinach, contain a lot of iron. Apple syrup is also known for it. Pregnant women may also drink Roosvicee Ferro (iron-containing drink).
High blood pressure can also cause shortness of breath and headaches. Other complaints may include nausea, dizziness, chest pain and poor vision. More than 10 percent of all pregnant women suffer from high blood pressure. High blood pressure is when it is elevated after the 20th week of pregnancy, while before then the blood pressure was normal. When blood pressure becomes too high, we speak of preeclampsia or pre-eclampsia. Ultimately, the dangerous HELLP syndrome can develop. For this reason, the midwife will regularly check the blood pressure in pregnant women. But if you experience the above-mentioned complaints in the meantime, please contact your midwife or doctor.

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