Breathing Difficulty at 5 Months Pregnant: Causes and Treatment Methods

Breathing difficulties are quite common for pregnant women at 5 months due to significant changes in the body. Symptoms like shortness of breath, especially at night, can cause concerns and potentially impact the health of both mother and baby. Let’s explore the causes, potential dangers, and ways to address this issue.

What causes difficulty breathing at 5 months of pregnancy?

In reality, several factors contribute to a pregnant woman experiencing shortness of breath. Hormonal fluctuations, particularly in progesterone, directly affect the lungs and stimulate the respiratory center in the mother’s brain, leading to increased breathlessness.

Notably, during the fifth month of pregnancy, mothers often feel more pronounced difficulty breathing. This may result from the rapid development of the uterus, adapting to the growth of the fetus. However, as the uterus expands, it compresses the diaphragm, restricting its movement. Combined with an increased heart rate, this leads to the condition of breathing difficulty at 5 months.

Other factors contributing to breathing difficulties in the fifth month include:

  • Asthma: Pre-existing asthma can worsen during pregnancy, demanding increased attention and consultation with a doctor for safe management.
  • Cardiac-related issues: Conditions like cardiac hypertrophy, a form of heart failure, can exhibit symptoms like fatigue, low blood pressure, swollen ankles, rapid heartbeat, and shortness of breath. Pregnant women may mistake these signs for normal pregnancy discomfort, highlighting the importance of monitoring and seeking medical advice.
  • Pulmonary embolism: Occurring when a blood clot obstructs pulmonary arteries, this condition significantly affects the respiratory system, causing coughing, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.
  • Fluid retention: Many pregnant women experience edema due to water retention. Prolonged edema can impact the lungs and nasal cavities, resulting in breathing difficulties.
  • Anemia: The increased demand for iron during pregnancy, vital for red blood cell production, may lead to anemia. Iron deficiency forces the body to work harder to produce oxygen, contributing to breathing challenges.
Several reasons contribute to breathing difficulties in a five-month pregnant woman.

Several reasons contribute to breathing difficulties in a five-month pregnant woman.

Is difficulty breathing at 5 months of pregnancy dangerous?

Beyond just difficulty breathing, pregnant women face various changes in the body and undesired symptoms such as back pain, lower abdominal pain, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and diarrhea. The level of danger associated with difficulty breathing during the fifth month of pregnancy varies depending on the changes and the individual’s health condition.

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Difficulty breathing during pregnancy can lead to a sensation of breathlessness due to insufficient oxygen, making breathing rhythms challenging and erratic. Expectant mothers may feel as if they have just completed a strenuous workout or high-intensity exercise. Most women experience this condition with varying degrees of severity, primarily attributed to physiological factors, posing no life-threatening risks.

However, in some instances, it can serve as a warning sign for other health issues. Pregnant women should not dismiss or ignore unusual signs in their bodies. If severe difficulty breathing persists, intensifies over time, is accompanied by rapid heartbeat, fatigue, etc., it is crucial to promptly contact a doctor or visit healthcare facilities for examination and timely intervention, preventing unfortunate incidents.

How to Alleviate Breathing Difficulties in the Fifth Month of Pregnancy

Breathing difficulties can make expectant mothers feel uncomfortable and hinder various daily activities. To reduce and address this issue, you can apply some effective solutions:


Pregnant women should allocate more time for rest if experiencing chest discomfort and difficulty breathing when lying on their backs. During pregnancy, women may find it challenging to engage in physical activities as usual, such as carrying heavy loads, overexertion, or climbing stairs extensively. Taking breaks and combining them with activities like reading, listening to music, or watching movies can help the body relax.

Change Positions

Pregnant women facing difficulty breathing can change their positions to facilitate easier breathing. Maintaining balance while standing or sitting will support the lungs in having ample space to receive oxygen most efficiently.

Especially, if a pregnant woman experiences nighttime breathlessness, she can insert an additional pillow or a thin blanket behind her back and upper body while sleeping. This prevents the fetus from exerting pressure on the lungs. It’s also advisable to lie inclined to the left side to relieve pressure and compression on the main arteries that supply oxygenated blood to the body’s organs, making breathing more comfortable.

Gentle Exercise

Expectant mothers should engage in gentle breathing exercises commonly applied during labor to make respiratory efforts more manageable. Additionally, regular exercise during pregnancy helps regulate and control breathing better. Activities like yoga, swimming, walking, meditation, among others, are gentle exercises aiding in oxygen supply and easy breathing. However, pregnant women should consult with a specialized doctor before practicing.

Furthermore, mothers-to-be can allocate 10 minutes daily for deep breathing exercises to expand their lungs:

  1. Stand upright, arms relaxed, releasing tension on both sides of the body.
  2. Inhale deeply, slowly raising both arms over the head, lifting the head as you breathe.
  3. Exhale gradually, lowering the arms back to the initial position.
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Nutrient Supplementation

Nutritional intake during pregnancy is often a concern, as most women aim for good health without excessive weight gain. However, not everyone knows the correct way to supplement essential nutrients during pregnancy. We understand that iron deficiency is one of the causes of breathlessness and rapid heartbeats. Therefore, besides synthetic vitamins and calcium for pregnant women, mothers also need to increase iron intake to prevent anemia.

Adequate Hydration

Breathing difficulties in the fifth month of pregnancy can result from dehydration; hence, it’s crucial to ensure adequate water intake. Besides plain water, incorporating hydrating options like fruit-infused water, smoothies, milk, etc., is beneficial. Simultaneously, avoiding beverages harmful to health, such as beer, alcohol, coffee, bubble tea, and carbonated drinks, is essential. These can negatively impact health, contribute to weight gain, and exacerbate breathing difficulties.

Read more: Headaches and Nausea During Menstruation

When Should a 5-Month Pregnant Woman Seek Medical Attention for Breathing Difficulties?

While this condition is generally normal, in some cases, pregnant mothers may require immediate attention if they encounter chest pain, difficulty breathing, accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Pregnant women experience difficulty breathing, and at the same time, their fingers, toes, lips, and skin gradually turn pale.
  • The heart beats rapidly, or when the heart rate exceeds the permissible threshold upon measurement.
  • Expectant mothers feel shortness of breath, wheezing, intense chest pain, coughing, and continuous fever.
  • Episodes of difficulty breathing occur consistently, becoming increasingly severe and difficult to control, accompanied by fatigue and weakness.

Pregnant women with a history of pneumonia, asthma, etc., should pay special attention and seek medical attention if experiencing difficulty breathing.

Ideally, pregnant women should not be alone and should be promptly taken to healthcare facilities for examination and appropriate intervention.

While difficulty breathing at 5 months of pregnancy is not overly dangerous to health, if it occurs too frequently or poses a risk to the health of both the mother and the baby, it is advisable to promptly consult a doctor for assessment and timely resolution.

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