Shortness of Breath In Pregnancy

Many, many women who are pregnant find themselves short of breath at some point. One reason is that the uterus is expanding and pushing up into the abdomen. This squeezes the lungs a bit, reducing the space they have for oxygen exchange.

An even bigger cause for shortness of breath is progesterone, a hormone that increases during pregnancy. High progesterone levels cause pregnant women to breathe faster. The rise in progesterone begins early in pregnancy, and the shortness of breath it causes can come as a surprise.

While shortness of breath can be worrisome, most of the time it is harmless and due to the normal changes of pregnancy. That said, it's still a good idea to consider if there might be some other reason for it.

This guide will help you assess whether your shortness of breath is normal pregnancy-related shortness of breath or something else.

Let's get started.

Severe shortness of breath, shortness of breath that comes on suddenly, and shortness of breath accompanied by certain symptoms requires immediate medical attention. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, it is a medical emergency:

- Severe shortness of breath

- Difficulty talking in full sentences

- Chest pain with shortness of breath

- Swelling in the face or abdomen with shortness of breath (a possible allergic reaction)

- Shortness of breath that appears suddenly and unexpectedly

Do you have any of the symptoms listed above?

Yes, I have one or more of these symptoms.

No, I don't have any of these symptoms.

Even if your shortness of breath is not severe, it is worrisome if it came on suddenly or keeps getting worse.

My shortness of breath

Came on rapidly.

Is getting worse.

Has stayed about the same all along.

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