Nosebleeds in pregnancy: Causes, treatment and prevention

pregnancy nosebleeds

by Lorna White |
Published on

Nosebleeds in pregnancy tend to be fairly common due to all those (yep, you guessed it) hormonal changes happening in your body, as well as an increased blood volume.

Blood of any kind can be concerning, but there's no need to feel anxious or worried about nosebleeds during pregnancy, just as long as you're not losing a lot of blood. Most nosebleeds can be treated at home.

If you've never experienced a nose bleed, it's where blood flows from either one or both of your nostrils. They can last from anywhere between a few seconds and a few minutes and can be a light or heavy flow of blood. They can occur at anytime, sometimes even when you're asleep.

What causes nosebleeds in pregnancy?

Increased blood volume - did you know your blood supply increases by as much as 50% when you're pregnant? This increase can sometimes cause the very delicate blood vessels inside your nose to burst easily under the pressure from all the blood.

Allergies or colds - If you're suffering from a cold or seasonal allergies, it's normal for your nose to feel inflamed and sore. Sometimes these blood vessels can break open, which is known as pregnancy rhinitis, which is the swelling of mucus membranes in your nose.

Hormonal changes - Any pregnant woman knows all the odd changes that can happen in the body due to changing hormone levels. Did you know that the same hormones responsible for lining your uterus with mucus are the same hormones which can cause nosebleeds?

How to stop nosebleeds

  1. Keep your head positioned upright. Laying down on your back or tilting your head back can increase the pressure in your blood vessels.
  1. Use your thumb and index finger to lightly squeeze your nose shut at the soft part of the nose just below the bone/bridge of the nose. Keep pinching for around ten minutes until the bleeding stops.
  1. If the blood is trickling down the back of your throat, you might want to lean forward to avoid choking on your blood.
  1. Freezing cold ice packs can help restrict the blood vessels which may help slow the blood flow.

After you've had a nosebleed, it's a good idea to avoid exercise and heavy lifting for the rest of the day. It can be difficult, but try to minimise how much you blow your nose and stay upright as much as you can.

Are nosebleeds in pregnancy ever something to worry about?

The frequency of pregnancy nosebleeds in the first trimester can vary from woman to woman. While some may experience nosebleeds everyday, some may only get a few. If you feel concerned or feel you might be bleeding from your nose too much or too regularly, you should speak to your GP about your symptoms. You should call your doctor immediately if your nosebleed is causing your to feel lightheaded or dizzy due to excessive loss of blood.

How to prevent nosebleeds in pregnancy

It can be hard to prevent nosebleeds in pregnancy, as they're often unavoidable, however, you can try some steps towards avoiding them in the future.

• When blowing your nose, do it gently and avoid picking your nose!

• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water

• Breath easy at night by using a humidifier in your bedroom

• Try to keep your mouth open when you sneeze - it sounds odd but it can relieve the pressure in your nose

• Keep a nasal spray or gel on hand to keep your nostrils moisturised

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