|SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center|
Why Do Some Pregnant Women Have Trouble Breathing?
As my belly gets bigger, I seem to have more and more problems breathing, even when trying to do the simplest tasks. Should I be concerned?
It's quite common for expectant women to be short of breath. Usually it's nothing to be concerned about, but it's best to check with your doctor, since lots of things can cause shortness of breath.
As a normal part of pregnancy, your breathing may be affected by the increase in the hormone progesterone, which causes you to breathe in more deeply. This might make you feel as if you're working harder to get air. Breathing may also become more difficult as your enlarging uterus takes up more space, resulting in pressure against your diaphragm (the muscle below your lungs).
As your baby "drops" lower into your pelvis as you near delivery, you should start to be able to breathe a little easier. In the meantime, try to:
If your shortness of breath has started suddenly, is severe, seems to be worsening, or is associated with pain, coughing, wheezing, or heart palpitations, let your doctor know. These may be signs that something other than pregnancy alone is causing your shortness of breath.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD