I am 28 weeks pregnant and experiencing a lot of shortness of breath pregnancy symptoms. I am a small person, only about 5 foot 3 and I carry my pregnancies high as you can see from the photo! The baby is always up in my ribs and my lungs and stomach get a little compacted a squished in there to make way for the growing uterus. One bonus of carrying high is that I don’t have a ton of pressure on my bladder, so I can make it through a whole night’s sleep without a trip to the bathroom. That is definitely nice!
However, there are times, when I am very short of breath. I know it is normal as it has happened to me before in previous pregnancies and I have spoken with my midwife about it and she wasn’t concerned, but it is alarming to me sometimes to feel like I can’t breathe normally. Of course, if you are feeling short of breath, talk to your doctor about it or if you feel it is serious, go to the emergency room. I will give you some tips of things that have helped me when I am experiencing these pregnancy symptoms, but this is no substitute for a doctor’s advice.
I know it seems counterintuitive, but exercise fills the lungs with air and is sometimes the only thing I can do to feel “normal” again when it comes to breathing. Start off slow and then build up a little at a time. If you feel faint or exhausted, stop and take a break. I do the treadmill as my exercise. It doesn’t bounce me too much and it feels like a good workout. I have a membership at Planet Fitness for $10 a month and no contract. I walk about 4 miles 3 times a week and on the days I go to the gym, I generally do not have any problems breathing. Exercise increases circulation which is a bonus all systems of the body.
Yoga really focuses on the breath and being mindful of deep breathing. Find a good pregnancy yoga DVD that you can do in the privacy of your own home and in your jammies if you want to! I purchased this Yoga DVD and have been doing it throughout my pregnancy. I have noticed it relaxes me quite a bit and has given me greater flexibility so that my joints and muscles don’t get stiff.
I call this hallelujah arms because when you put your arms straight up over your head, it opens up your airways (Hallelujah!) to let more air pass through. Sometimes I have to sleep this way if I lay down and have trouble breathing. So put your arms up as high as they go right up over your head and then breathe deeply for 15-20 minutes.
When you carry high like me, your stomach will tell you when it’s time to stop eating (usually when you’re about 75% full). Small meals, spread out throughout the day is best. If you eat too much, you have all kinds of terrible symptoms like acid reflux, heartburn, and for me, shortness of breath. I try not to eat too much and when I do on occasion, I do this natural acid reflux remedy that really works.
Stress really affects my breathing rate. I tend to breathe faster when I am stressed out or anxious, which for a mom of 3, is pretty much a daily or even hourly occurrence. I try to take 15 minutes to myself each day to read or relax and breathe to bring myself back to a somewhat normal and centered state. I try to incorporate massage (from an apprentice at a massage school to save money) into my month sometime as that really helps to relax me as well.
I hope this helps you with your shortness of breath pregnancy symptoms. Please post a comment if you have any questions!
*Don’t forget to contact your doctor or midwife before trying anything new during pregnancy to make sure it’s safe for your pregnancy and your individual situation.