23 answers

I'm Pregnant & Having Shortness of Breath....

About 3 mths ago I noticed, mostly at night, that I was having a hard time catching my breath. As time has gone on & I have gotten bigger, I am constantly struggling to breath. It gets worse when I eat, as if the food is taking up my precious lung space! My OB has showed no concern for this problem, saying that it is normal & told me "At 8mths along you have to expect you're going to be uncomfortable." UNCOMFORTABLE??? It was all I could do not to punch him in the face! This is my 2nd child so I'm well aware of the "uncomfortableness" of being pregnant. I do not classify not being able to eat & breath uncomfortable. It makes it nearly impossible to fall asleep, which means not only have I cut my food intake in half but now it seems my sleep has been cut in half as well. So, my question to you dear ladies is this....Has anyone else had this problem during their pregnancy & if so did you find anything to help you breath easier before the baby dropped? I guess I should mention that I did already see my regular Dr, it is not asthma & using an inhaler does not help. Thanks for any help or comments!

What can I do next?

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I had the same problem with my second child. She was so high that most of the time I just couldn't get a good breath at all. To tell you the truth, I would push down on her (right at the top of mt belly between the brest) and take in a deep breath. It really seemed to help. Sometimes she would move right back up and other times she would stay down and give me a little break. Sad to say that the problem didn't go away until her birthday. Good luck, I know it's hard to deal with but in the end it's all worth it!!!!

I had the exact same thing with my son who is now 5 months old. He was extremely active (I felt him move at 11 weeks!)...I was short of breath pretty much my entire pregnancy. I'd like to say it went by in a blink but it was a very tiresome pregnancy. I really had no relief...he was just so active that he always took my breath away! I wish you the best and a healthly baby.

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Hi there! Yes, I had this problem also. And like one of the other responses to your problem, I also had to push on the top of my stomach to get a bit of breathing room. I had this problem with all four of my pregnancies, but the worst was when my daughter was breach and her head was under my ribs. For sleeping at night I bought a body pillow and slept on my side with one leg over the pillow to take the weight off of my abdomen/chest. It really helped a lot! You will get through it!


I'm also a pregnancy chiropractor and there are a couple of specific (and very gentle) adjustments for pregnancy that might help, one which comes to mind immediately specifically addresses the diagphram (which may be simply "stuck" and need release), as well as some pelvic adjustments that may give your baby more room to move downward. Find a trained pregnancy chiropractor by going to www.icpa4kids.org. There are quite a few of us in the area. I personally have worked with many pregnant women who had this same complaint... you don't have to just live with it.

I'm so glad I'm not the only one to suggest this...it is most likely GERD! I had the same problem when I was 5 months pregnant and I STILL have problems with it. When it first began my OB sent me to an lung specialist who did a complete lung function test and tested me for asthma, the whole works! Every test came back perfectly normal, he said I was his healthiest patient. Well, I knew something was wrong and this was not the normal thing most pregnant women feel when the baby takes up lung space. So my OB then sent me to a cardiologist who did all his tests which came back perfectly normal. He suggested however that it could be GERD and called my OB to make sure Nexium was okay to take while pregnant. It was, and I have been on it ever since, even while breastfeeding!! Within 4 days of taking it I could FINALLY BREATHE! I was finally able to get enough air in my lungs to get a satisfying breath. I still take it and if I forget to take it, guess what, I can't breathe! I don't know if it has anything to do with preeclampsia, like someone else suggested, but I did have preeclampsia too. But now I'm not pregnany anymore (daughter born Oct. 2007). Talk to your doctor about taking Nexium and if he/she won't prescribe it, then go see a Gastroenterologist to see what they say. I go to their PA, Tina at Southeast Valley Gastroenterology Consultants. ###-###-####. She's not who I went to while pregnant, but she's great! (I lived in Houston while pregnant). Send me a personal message if you'd like to talk more about it or ask more specific questions. Hope this helps!!

Hi D.,

Sorry to say your doctor is right. I had the same thing when my son was breach. In the last month or two it was unbearable!!! (Because he was breach he didn't drop very much) I had to prop myself up with pillows and that seemed to help some nights. I understand about the eating. It's like you are so hungry but eating only makes breathing that much harder. I had to snack and have small meals all through out the day that helped a little. Fortunately you don't have too much longer to go and once the baby drops it will get better. Good luck!

Yes, baby is taking up more room and pushing your diaphragm up, leaving you less room there to capture the intake of air. Water does help, by the way.


Be sure they are watching you closely for preeclampsia. I had it at 36 weeks (was on bedrest from week 27 on due to preterm labor) with my son, without breathing problems, but AFTER my daughter was born, I was discharged, and found I couldn't sleep that third night due to not being able to breathe. I just couldn't catch a breath. The next day, just walking from my bedroom to the kitchen in my 1 story home made me out of breath. I thought maybe it was gas, but called the doctor who told me to get to Urgent Care or Emergency right away. I did, and good thing, because I almost passed out there. My blood pressure was skyrocketing and pulse was getting really low. I was hospitalized (without my newborn!!!) for 5 days. It was rare postpartum preeclampsia, but basically blood pressure issues.

So they need to watch that blood pressure and the protein in your urine. Also, if you get a pain on the upper right quadrant of your tummy, just under the breast, that could also be a sign of it.

While pregnant, I found going to the pool helped a LOT...the floating took the weight off of everything... as did walking. But rest when you need to, before you are worn out. And watch the stress.

Are you living at high altitude? I had my first three children at sea level, and now am pregnant the fourth time at 7,000 ft, and the difference is astonishing. I get so short of breath I have to sit down and rest just from doing the simplest things.

I had the exact same thing with my son who is now 5 months old. He was extremely active (I felt him move at 11 weeks!)...I was short of breath pretty much my entire pregnancy. I'd like to say it went by in a blink but it was a very tiresome pregnancy. I really had no relief...he was just so active that he always took my breath away! I wish you the best and a healthly baby.

Is your shortness of breath caused by stuffed up nose and sinuses? If so, this is very common for pregnant women even though it completely sucks! (I had this problem.) If this is the case then it makes sense that you would have trouble eating as you need to breath through your nose to have air when you eat. Most women who have this problem have trouble sleeping when they are pregnant. (Sleeping on your back helps). It will stop after you have the baby.
Here's something you can do in the interim.
Let the water run warm in the tub and bend over so that your head faces down. Then cup some water up to your face and vigorously massage your nose and sinuses. Then, cupping more water, let the water run up your nose a few times. Then dry off your face and blow your nose. Letting the water run up your nose IS NOT comfortable but it loosens up the sinuses. You can do this any time (before meals/before bedtime). It's like using a netty pot (if you watch Oprah with Dr. Oz you've seen one.) It's like a tea pot for putting water up your nose. For some reason I think they are too weird for me and prefer to just do it this way. Hope this works for you. I hated not being able to breathe.

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