Nosebleeds During Pregnancy
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Did you know that nosebleeds are a symptom of pregnancy? If you encounter a nosebleed during pregnancy, fret not and read on!
In this article:
- Are Nosebleeds Common In Pregnancy?
- What Causes Nose Bleeding During Pregnancy?
- How To Stop Nosebleeds During Pregnancy
- How To Prevent Nosebleeds While Pregnant
- When Should I Seek Medical Care For My Nose Bleeding?
Are Nosebleeds Common In Pregnancy?
According to the National Institute of Health, an estimated 20 percent of women who are pregnant experience nosebleeds (as compared to about 6 percent of women who aren’t pregnant). Nosebleeds can last anywhere from one to fifteen minutes and the volume of bleeding varies from person to person.
What Causes Nose Bleeding During Pregnancy?
Nosebleeds during pregnancy are caused by both hormonal changes and an increase of blood volume in the body. The boost in circulation may help nourish the fetus, but it can also cause those tiny vessels in the nose to swell up. Because of the expansion, those small vessels are more prone to rupture, especially if you’re blowing your nose frequently, picking at your nostrils, or if the air is dry.
Although pregnant women most commonly report having nosebleeds during the first trimester, they can occur at any time throughout your pregnancy. It is still nothing to be concerned about… just a nuisance to deal with. If you already have allergies or sinus issues, you’ll tend to be more susceptible to nosebleeds.
How To Stop Nosebleeds During Pregnancy
If you happen to experience a nosebleed while you’re pregnant, there are certainly things you can do to stop the blood from flowing.
- Stand up. If you’re lying down, sit up or stand up as soon as you notice you’re bleeding. The upright position will reduce the blood pressure in your veins located in your nose. This will slow the flow of the blood.
- Pinch your nose. Take your fingers and gently pinch both of your nostrils shut while leaning forward slightly. You may have seen people lean backwards when they have a nosebleed, but medical experts state that leaning forward actually slows the blood flow faster and prevents you from choking on the blood.
- Take a breath. Take long, slow breaths with your mouth as you keep your nostrils closed shut with your fingers. Try not to allow anxiety to consume you since it can make the situation worse. While you focus on your breath, inhaling and exhaling slowly, your anxiety level should decrease.
- Lie on your left side. Yes, most of the time you should stand up if your nose is bleeding; however, if you start to feel queasy, you risk fainting which can lead to a more serious injury. If you start to feel off balance or rocky, lie down on your left side.
With these steps, the bleeding in your nose should subside. Check to see if the bleeding has stopped every couple of minutes by releasing the pressure on your nose. Once the nosebleed stops, do your best not to blow your nose for 24 hours. Also, refrain from picking your nose, lifting heavy objects, intense exercise, or consuming hot beverages.
How To Prevent Nosebleeds While Pregnant
The following are measures you can take to prevent nosebleeds while you’re pregnant.
- Blow gently. Because of the blood vessels in your nose being more susceptible to bursting during pregnancy, always be gentle when you’re blowing your nose.
- Use a humidifier. In the winter months, the air in your home is drier if you use forced heat. This can lead to the vessels in your nose being drier as well. Running a humidifier regularly will help keep the air moist, and hence will decrease the chances of your nose lining drying out. Even if you live in an area that is humid, your air can still get dry due to your heater!
- Moisten your nose with Vaseline. Dabbing a small amount of Vaseline in your nostrils has been known to help increase moisture.
- Stay hydrated. Be sure that you’re drinking plenty of water during your pregnancy and cutting back on caffeine.
When Should I Seek Medical Care For My Nose Bleeding?
Though most of the time a nosebleed during pregnancy will subside within a few minutes, in rare cases complications may arise and you’ll need to seek medical care. If a complication does ensue, it is likely because of an underlying condition.
You should seek medical assistance if the following occurs:
- If the nosebleed occurred after you experienced a head trauma.
- If you are having difficulty breathing.
- If you experience chest pain before, during, or after the nosebleed.
- If you fall unconscious, whoever is with you should seek immediate help.
- If your nosebleed continues for longer than 15 minutes, call your doctor to be safe.
- If you are confused, unable to move, or you’re experiencing lightheadedness.
- If you feel tingling or numbness in your hands or feet, or if one or both sides of your face is drooping, seek help, as this could be a sign of a stroke.
- If anything seems out of the ordinary, seek medical attention.
It’s not always easy to know if a nosebleed is simply a side effect of being pregnant, or if there is something else going on. It never hurts to make an appointment with your physician if you are apprehensive.
Mayo Clinic, Nosebleeds, 2018.
National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, Epistaxis of pregnancy and association with postpartum hemorrhage, 2009.
National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, Blood volume changes in normal pregnancy, 1985.
- Dominica Applegate