Pregnancy: Nosebleeds and Bleeding Gums

Pregnancy: Nosebleeds and Bleeding Gums


You may get nosebleeds during pregnancy. That's because there is more blood flow to the tissue inside the nose (mucous membranes) when you are pregnant. There are things you can do to help prevent nosebleeds, such as using a humidifier. Follow the directions for cleaning the machine.

You also have more blood flow to the mucous membranes of the mouth and gums when you are pregnant. This may also cause bleeding, especially when you brush your teeth. Your gums may be more swollen than usual. It may help to use a toothbrush with soft bristles.

Regular visits to your dentist during pregnancy are important to prevent problems. Tell your dentist that you are pregnant. Dental X-rays and local anesthesia are generally safe during pregnancy. So most dental work can be done while you are pregnant. Delaying dental care can make a problem worse.

Preventing nosebleeds

These measures can help prevent nosebleeds during pregnancy.

  • Do not use over-the-counter cold or allergy pills or nasal sprays.

    They can make your nose dry. If you have serious allergy problems, talk to your doctor or midwife.

  • Try using a humidifier.

    Use it at night. Follow the directions for cleaning the machine.

  • Don't blow your nose too hard.

    If you have to blow your nose, gently blow one nostril at a time.

  • Put a thin layer of petroleum jelly or a saline- or water-based nasal gel inside your nose.

    Put it on the septum, the wall that separates the nostrils.

  • Talk to your doctor about any medicines you are taking.

    Some medicines may make you more likely to get a nosebleed.

Stopping a nosebleed

Follow these steps to stop a nosebleed.

If you are helping someone else stop a nosebleed, avoid touching the other person's blood. Use gloves, if available, or layers of fabric or a plastic bag to protect yourself.

  1. Gently blow your nose to clear any clots.
  2. Sit up straight and tip your head slightly forward.

    Do not tilt your head back. This may cause blood to run down the back of your throat, and you may swallow it. Swallowed blood can irritate your stomach and cause vomiting. And vomiting may make the bleeding worse or cause it to start again. Spit out any blood that gathers in your mouth and throat rather than swallowing it.

  3. Use your thumb and forefinger to firmly pinch the soft part of your nose shut.

    The nose consists of a hard, bony part and a softer part made of cartilage. Nosebleeds usually occur in the soft part of the nose. Spraying the nose with a decongestant nasal spray like oxymetazoline (Drixoral) before applying pressure may help stop a nosebleed. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. You will have to breathe through your mouth.

  4. Keep pinching for at least 5 minutes.

    Use a clock to time the 5 minutes. It can seem like a long time. Resist the urge to peek after a few minutes to see if your nose has stopped bleeding.

  5. Check to see if your nose is still bleeding after 5 minutes.

    If it is, hold it for 10 more minutes. Most nosebleeds will stop after 10 to 20 minutes of direct pressure.

  6. Put a thin layer of nasal gel or cream inside your nose.

    Use petroleum jelly or a saline- or water-based nasal gel.

  7. Do not blow your nose or put anything else inside your nose for several hours after the bleeding has stopped.


Current as of: November 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology