Experiencing difficulty in breathing during the sixth month of pregnancy is one of the common symptoms in pregnant women, especially at night. This shortness of breath not only makes expectant mothers uncomfortable but also leads to fatigue and overall physical weakness. If left unaddressed for an extended period, it can impact the health of both the mother and the fetus. So, what are the causes of this breathlessness, and how can it be alleviated? Today’s article will explore these questions.
Breathlessness at six months of pregnancy – what causes it?
Experiencing breathlessness at six months is a prevalent symptom in most pregnant women. This phenomenon may not only manifest at six months but can appear as early as the first trimester. While it can cause discomfort and fatigue, it generally does not pose significant risks to the health of the mother and the baby, so there’s no need to overly worry.
There are various reasons behind the breathlessness that expectant mothers may encounter during the sixth month of pregnancy. Some are objective factors resulting from changes within the mother’s body as she begins the journey of pregnancy, while others may be attributed to underlying health conditions.
As pregnancy progresses, the diaphragm (the muscle separating the heart and lungs from the abdomen) expands, altering the breathing pattern of the expectant mother. Additionally, the increased concentration of the hormone progesterone prompts faster and deeper breathing, providing more air for the developing fetus. Although this can lead to occasional breathlessness, it generally does not have a significant impact.
Furthermore, the expanding uterus during pregnancy adapts to the daily growth of the fetus. As the uterus expands, it may exert pressure on the diaphragm, contributing to the sensation of breathlessness. Additionally, inadequate nutrition during pregnancy can result in maternal anemia, leading to breathlessness.
Other potential causes of breathlessness during the sixth month of pregnancy include:
- Asthma: Expectant mothers with a history of asthma may experience frequent bouts of breathlessness during pregnancy. Seeking specialized medical advice is essential to ensure a safe and effective treatment plan.
- Pulmonary embolism: This occurs when blood clots get trapped in the pulmonary arteries, affecting breathing and causing chest pain and coughing.
- Cardiac issues: Pregnancy-related cardiac diseases, characterized by symptoms such as swollen ankles, fatigue, low blood pressure, and rapid heartbeat, can contribute to breathlessness.
- Fluid retention: Some pregnant women may develop edema, a severe form of fluid retention that affects the lungs and nasal passages, leading to breathlessness.
- Anemia: Insufficient blood supply during pregnancy can prompt the body to work harder to produce oxygen for all organs, resulting in fatigue and breathlessness.
Is difficulty breathing at six months of pregnancy dangerous?
The phenomenon of experiencing difficulty breathing at six months of pregnancy, resulting from changes within the mother’s body during pregnancy, is generally not considered dangerous. This condition typically resolves after childbirth. In general, if there are no other concerning symptoms, difficulty breathing at six months of pregnancy is unlikely to harm the baby’s health. This is because the fetus receives an ample supply of oxygen through the placenta. Taking deep breaths should provide sufficient oxygen for the baby.
However, if an expectant mother is struggling to breathe due to factors like anemia or other medical conditions, it is advisable to consult with a doctor for timely examination and treatment. Prolonged and severe difficulty breathing can have detrimental effects on both the mother and the baby’s health.
While difficulty breathing is a common condition in pregnant women, it should not be taken lightly. If you experience the following symptoms, it is recommended to seek immediate medical attention to avoid potential complications:
- Rapid heart rate or sudden increase in heart rate.
- Shortness of breath, rapid breathing accompanied by chest pain while breathing.
- Fingers, toes, and lips turning blue or purple.
- Wheezing, continuous coughing, fever, and chills.
- Severe asthma or other chronic illnesses.
Read more: Headaches and Nausea During Menstruation
How to alleviate difficulty breathing during pregnancy
Experiencing difficulty breathing at six months of pregnancy is primarily attributed to hormonal changes, making it challenging to enact comprehensive treatment. However, expectant mothers can follow some tips below to reduce discomfort and improve breathability.
To alleviate difficulty breathing during the sixth month of pregnancy, it is crucial to immediately rest and cease all activities. Pregnancy imposes limitations on physical activities, so it’s essential to avoid overexertion, such as staying up late or lifting heavy objects. Take time to rest when feeling stressed, tense, or fatigued.
When experiencing difficulty breathing, pregnant women can adjust their posture to facilitate easier air intake. Maintaining a straight back while sitting or standing helps reduce pressure on the diaphragm, allowing the lungs to receive oxygen more easily.
If difficulty breathing occurs at night, using a pillow to support the back and upper body can alleviate the pressure caused by the weight of the fetus on the lungs. Pregnant women may also find relief by lying on their left side, preventing the uterus from compressing the main artery and making breathing easier.
Mindful Breathing and Meditation
Specialized medical advice suggests that pregnant women should practice deep breathing to ensure sufficient oxygen supply for the baby. As the chest cavity may be constricted in pregnant women, proper breathing exercises help expand the chest, facilitating smoother air exchange. Correct breathing techniques also help minimize respiratory discomfort, particularly in cases of viral infections.
To prevent difficulty breathing during the sixth month of pregnancy, it is advisable to engage in regular, gentle exercises such as walking or practicing yoga. These activities help pregnant women improve their breathing and heart rate control, ensuring proper breathing. However, it’s essential to consult with a specialist before engaging in any exercise during pregnancy. Gentle movements contribute to enhancing the pregnant woman’s endurance to counteract breathing difficulties, but it’s crucial to listen to the body and avoid overexertion.
The causes of difficulty breathing at six months of pregnancy may be related to anemia or hormonal imbalances. Therefore, pregnant women should ensure adequate nutrition to maintain a healthy body. Emphasize foods rich in iron, folic acid, protein, and Omega-3, such as salmon, various nuts, vegetable oil, green vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Additionally, it is advisable to limit the intake of foods high in salt, sugar, and fats.
Difficulty breathing at six months of pregnancy can also be related to dehydration. Ensure that you drink an adequate amount of water, possibly supplemented with fruit juices, milk, smoothies, etc. Avoid harmful beverages like alcohol, beer, coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks. These drinks can contribute to weight gain, exacerbating the severity of breathing difficulties.
Experiencing difficulty breathing at six months of pregnancy is not uncommon and generally not overly dangerous to the mother’s health. However, if it occurs too frequently or significantly impacts health and daily life, it is essential to promptly consult with a doctor for examination and timely intervention. Delaying medical attention may lead to a decline in the health of both the mother and the fetus.
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.