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Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy


pregnant woman sitting down and leaning back in a field



Shortness of breath is one of the most common concerns for pregnant women.  

It's caused by the extra demands on your body - and in most cases, it's normal.

As your uterus expands, there's less room in your belly and diaphragm, the part of the body that supports breathing. If you're carrying high or pregnant with multiples, shortness of breath may be more noticeable, especially when you exert yourself.  

During the first trimester, shortness of breath is usually normal, but check with your health care provider if you have a family history of heart problems.

Throughout your pregnancy, you can minimize discomfort by:

  • breathing slowly and deeply through your mouth
  • wearing loose clothing
  • practicing good posture
  • getting plenty of rest

For more information about some of the common changes you may experience in each trimester of pregnancy and suggestions about what you can do to stay comfortable:

Staying physically active during pregnancy will help with shortness of breath. Physical activity also cuts down on swelling, leg cramps, fatigue, backache and constipation.

Last Updated: August 10, 2013