Nosebleeds and Pregnancy
So, you’re just walking around one day when all of a sudden you notice that your nose starts to bleed. You quench the blood flow, but the very next day your nose starts to bleed again! Well, now that you’re pregnant, you may have to get used to these sudden streams of blood from your nose. Frequent nosebleeds are a very common pregnancy symptom, and though they can be annoying, they are typically quite harmless.
What are Nosebleeds?
Pretty much everyone has had a nosebleed at some point in their lives, and usually they come at the most inopportune times – when you are giving a speech, writing an exam, or giving a presentation at work. Nosebleeds are just that – bleeds from the nose. They typically last up to ten minutes but sometimes they can become chronic, particularly if you are a frequent nose blower or have very dry nostrils.
Typically, nosebleeds start in the front of the nasal septum or at the very back of the nose cavity. Many people have nosebleeds and they don’t even notice them, except when they blow their nose. Sometimes, nosebleeds can be quite noticeable, and you will end up with blood running down your face.
What Causes Nosebleeds During Pregnancy?
Causes of nosebleeds usually depend upon the person, but pregnant women seem to get more than their fair share of nosebleeds. Nosebleeds causes in pregnancy are probably the result of increased blood flow. Pregnant women actually have 30% to 50% more blood circulating in their bodies than they would normally. This blood is needed in order to maintain a healthy placenta and baby.
As hormones like estrogen and progesterone rise during pregnancy, so too does a woman’s blood flow. You may notice that you are glowing more than normal and have particularly tender breasts. These are all results of that increased blood flow. This increased blood flow though is also one of them main reasons for nosebleeds because it exerts pressure on the mucous lining in the nose. Sometimes these vessels can’t take this pressure and, as a result, they rupture.
The most obvious symptom of a nosebleed is bleeding from the nose. But there are other symptoms that may indicate that you are about to have a nosebleed:
- sinus headache (increased blood flow can cause congestion in the nose, leading to sinus blockages)
- dry or stuffy nose
- itchy nose
- excessive sneezing or nose blowing
Things that Exacerbate Nosebleeds
Nosebleeds are often brought on by certain triggers, particularly a chronically dry nose. Smoking and drinking alcohol can also cause nosebleeds, because they cause the blood vessels to become irritated and break. A lack of Vitamin C, a proven tissue builder, may also be involved in causing nosebleeds during pregnancy.
Complications of Nosebleeds
The majority of pregnant women who suffer from nosebleeds do not have to worry about adverse side effects, either for themselves or for their baby. Usually, the amount of blood lost is too little to worry about. Rarely, some women can lose large amounts of blood with nose bleeds during pregnancy. This can lead to weakness, fainting, and even the need for a blood transfusion. If you are losing large amounts of blood with your nosebleeds, go to your nearest emergency room. The doctors there will attempt to stop the bleeding. They may:
- try to contract the blood vessels in your nose
- cauterize the leaking blood vessels with certain chemicals
- pack your nose with gauze
- operate, if the bleeding is severe
How to Stop Nosebleeds
When you get a nosebleed, it is important to try and stop the flow of blood. Follow these simple steps for stopping nosebleeds:
- Sit down
- Lean forward and keep your head at a level that is above your heart
- Pinch your nose firmly, just under the bridge
- Maintain pressure for at least ten minutes
- Don’t release this pressure until ten minutes are up – it will stop the coagulation process
- If you have some ice, put a bag of it over your nose – this will help the blood vessels to constrict
- Don’t lie down or lean your head back – this could cause you to swallow your blood, which can lead to nausea and vomiting
- Once the bleeding has stopped, try not to blow your nose for at least 12 hours
If you find that your nosebleeds are particularly annoying, try some of these quick fixes for future prevention:
- don’t pick your nose!
- try to blow your nose gently
- when you sneeze, keep your mouth open to relieve the pressure on your nostrils
- buy a humidifier for you house or office to keep the air nice and moist
- put petroleum jelly or saline drops in your nose to keep the mucous membranes hydrated
- drink lots of fluids, especially water
- bulk up on your Vitamin C intake as it promotes tissue healing
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